Former Guantanamo Prisoner to Speak at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the NUI Galway Muslim Youth Society are jointly hosting a public lecture by Moazzam Begg. Entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar, the lecture will take place at 6pm on Monday, 8 November, in the Martin Ryan Annex in NUI Galway. Moazzam Begg was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani police and CIA officers, held at Bagram airbase for nearly a year and then transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was one of nine British citizens held at Camp X-Ray. In all, he spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was subjected to over three hundred interrogations, as well as death threats and torture, witnessing the killings of two detainees. Begg was labelled an 'enemy combatant' by the US government. He was released on 25 January, 2005 along with Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. President Bush released Moazzam Begg over the objections of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, who warned that Mr. Begg could still be a dangerous terrorist. At the lecture Begg, who is the co-author of a book about his Guantánamo experiences also entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, will speak about his experiences in custody and detention under the US authorities. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Chair of the lecture, said: "In the aftermath of September 11, a 'war on terror' was declared by the US and other allies. A language was developed to explain the extraordinary measures which were meant to address the emergency, including the need for 'rights free zones', such as Guantanamo Bay. Whilst the Obama administration has promised to close Guantanamo; this has yet to be realised. What has also been insufficiently addressed is the impact of detention for prolongued periods without trail. Moazzam Begg gives a face and a story to those who were (and continue to be) detained and beyond the reach and protection of law." Admission is free and open to the public. For further information please contact ireland.communications@fosis.org.uk.
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