Former British Guantanamo detainee to launch legal action over passport revocation
Moazzam Begg's lawyers have put Home Office, Passport Office on notice
A former Guantanamo detainee says he will sue the British government for canceling his passport three times, without any legal grounds.
Moazzam Begg, who was held in the infamous US prison located in Cuba for three years, says his passport was first revoked in 2013.
“And for eight years, I challenged them (Home Office) trying to get it back,” Begg told Anadolu Agency.
He said that in September 2021, “they issued a passport and I was very happy that I got my passport eventually after all this time,” only to see it would be revoked again in three weeks' time.
“Strangely enough the letter that they that they sent me was addressed to somebody else in the country up in the north of England, dated 2017… and when I searched the name of the person who this was issued to, it seemed that he had been convicted for passport fraud," he said. “So this was it showed that the government responded really in a knee jerk response.”
Begg's lawyers have put the Home Office and Passport Office on notice of legal action, but received no reply. The legal team will file an application for judicial review within days, Begg said.
The former inmate, who was detained in Pakistan and taken to Guantanamo, and released without any terror charges after two years, said the reason of the revocation can be his trips to Syria in 2012 and 2013.
“When I went to Syria in 2012, 2013, this was long before ISIS (Daesh) came as an organization,” Begg explained.
“And one of the reasons why I was travelling there was to meet with people who have been conditioned as part of the torture program run by the United States of America and Britain.”
He said he met people in Syria as part of an investigation he was conducting to unravel human rights violations and war crimes by the US and UK forces.
Begg said British “security services met me before I left to that trip to Syria, and they said in front of my lawyer and in front of their own lawyer, who (were) both present that this will not be illegal and it's okay for you to go.”
“So for them to try to prosecute me for this clearly shows it was a politically motivated prosecution and they failed in that prosecution. And the police then actually said Moazzam Begg is innocent for them.”
He added that the continuation of harassment is “vindictiveness and a great deal of incompetence,” adding that he has never had a conviction in the UK.
“I've been held in three military prison camps," he said. “I've been arrested under counterterrorism laws three times, and I've had my passport revoked three times. I've never been convicted of any crime. And I've never had my day in court. So this shows you the level of which this these measures are actually operating outside of the law.”
Begg added that he could not see his daughter's wedding party as he was stripped of his passport, and once he gets his document back he would go to Turkey where the newlyweds are living.