Human Rights

Begg Pulls Out Of Amnesty Event

Yesterday, we noticed that Begg had pulled out of an Amnesty event.

Sunny has the scoop – a guest post at Pickled Politics:

It has been my pleasure to have worked closely with Amnesty since my return from Guantanamo on highlighting the cases and campaigning against the human rights abuses that have occured in the name of fighting terrorism since the outset of the ‘War on Terror.’ The relationship I have with Amnesty goes back to the years when I was incarcerated in US custody and my father was receiving immense moral and practical support from the organisation – something both he and I will never forget.

It is very unfortunate that this relationship is now being severely tested by both internal and external forces that would like nothing better than to see that work damaged, or even terminated. Since my return I have spoken about and written my views more times than I can remember. My goals for doing this have been to expose the reality of detention without trial, torture, cruelty and dehumanisation and at the same time, develop a nuanced approach to fostering understanding between communities that are increasingly becoming polarised through the language of education, understanding, acceptance and reconciliation.

I do not claim to have all the answers to every question on human rights; five years ago I could not even answer if I was going to live or face execution. But, I truly cannot understand why this is all happening now, since nothing that has been said in the media is new at all – no new and sensational revealtions, no new contraversial comments, at least not by or about me.

I have just returned from a pan-European tour asking governments to give sanctuary to cleared Guantanamo prisoners who are unable to return to their homes so I find it odd that this argument is occuring now, especially at time when revelations are being made that UK intelligence was fully aware that Binyam Mohamed was being abused. This is something I have said about my own case since my return too – and, I believe, the same will also be revealed about Shaker Aamer, on whose behalf I hope most people tonight will campaign.

I apologise for not attending this evening’s events but I have decided to abstain from taking part only so that the focus is not about my personal beliefs or Amnesty’s internal issues but, that the lives of men who have suffered human rights violations for so many years, as discussed in Outside the Law, are are not overshadowed.

If people are interested in knowing my views regarding all the controversies discussed in the national press last week they be can seen on

I wish this evening’s event and Amnesty UK and Andy Worthington every success.
Moazzam Begg

Moazzam – you are quite right. It has been clear since the late 1990s that you have been deeply involved in jihadism. Why has nobody called you on it before?

There are two reasons that you’ve got away with it for so long.

First, you have been protected by the fact that you were held without access to judicial oversight. No properly independent authority reviewed your case. It may seem like a small point, but it is a vital one. One of the reasons that we need an Amnesty is to campaign for due process for all. That failure has served to shield your politics from scrutiny. But no longer.

Secondly, Gita Sahgal has sacrificed her career to expose you. Many others have made the points that she has. However, they have been attacked and smeared in the most vile and personal ways possible. Your fans have terrorised liberal opponents of your extreme politics into silence. It took a South Asian secular feminist, with a lifetime devoted to the human rights struggle, finally, to break the story.

This isn’t over. There is loads and loads more on you, your colleagues, and your campaign.

It is going to be a bumpy ride.