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Harrowing Situation of the Detainees

First published in the Muslim News, July 2004

Sir, I enjoyed reading your special Prisoner of the West supplement where you highlighted the predicament of the men detained under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2001. It was very informative and I hope your readers will appreciate the direness of these men�s circumstances and raise their voices against it.

On a visit to London recently, I met, R, one of the wives of the detainees. She gave me a very harrowing account of her husband�s arrest and indefinite detention and the effect it has had on his family�s health. She also spoke about her friend, who is the wife of G. G has been tagged, released from Belmarsh and is now under house arrest. G is now mentally ill, weighs 7 stones and is wheelchair bound. He and his wife live under the most restrictive conditions with their four-year-old child and G cannot even enjoy fresh air, as his tagging does not allow him in to his own back garden! R told me that G�s wife phones her and cannot stop crying but R had not heard from her for over two weeks and cannot even call her to find out if she is ok.

I found her account heartbreaking and I am sure that if more people realised the harrowing situation of the detainees and their families, action would be taken to alleviate it. I know many non-Muslims (many in Scotland) who are doing their best to highlight the detainees� predicament and with assistance from the Islamic community; they could redouble their efforts.

Can I please be allowed to add that I am the "Scottish granny" who wrote in the supplement about my friend RR. Please print his name � RACHID RAMDA. There is no legal reason why this cannot be done. His name has been printed previously in the national press. By November, Rachid will have been incarcerated for nine years without charge or trial!

Ann Alexander,