Interview with detainee AS
A Libyan known only as Detainee "AS", has given an exclusive interview with Islam Channel News.
He's been detained for nearly five years and is considered a threat to national security. But he's never been charged with a crime and isn't allowed to see the secret evidence against him. He is currently held in Long Lartin Prison.Islam Channel News ran a special programme on Detainee AS's allegations at 5pm and 9.30pm on Thursday, October 12, on Islam Channel.
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Rough Transcript of the Interview
My dear respected brothers and sisters. My name is __ and I am from Libya. I have been in prison since May 2002. I am currently detained at Long Lartin prison.
I and sixteen more brothers from Libya, Jordan and Algeria are still detained secretly without any charges, in an isolated wing. We are now facing deportation to our countries and most of us have now been detained and fighting this case for the past 5 years.
None of us have ever been charged with anything and we still claim our innocence. We are ready at any time to face any allegation they have against us before an ordinary court. We are innocent people. We were kidnapped from our houses and are being detained as hostages. They took us from our houses and put us in prison simply because we are Muslims. All our families outside are suffering. They're being treated very badly, one of the brother's wives has miscarried her baby subsequent to the barbaric raid the day her husband was kidnapped by the police. I and another brother have not seen our wives for the period of our detention which is nearly 5 years.
Our situation in prison is very hard. We all have been classified as A category – high risk prisoners. Therefore we are not allowed to get any domestic visits by anyone unless the Home Office approves the visitor's name, and this takes a very long time to be processed and get cleared. In this prison they don't want the reality to emerge to the public and the Muslim brothers and sisters around the world.
Some of the brothers here have become mentally ill and they are under very heavy medication. We always get strip-searched in our daily routine; when we come back from our legal visits and our domestic visits, and if anyone refuses then they use force against him to take all his clothes off, the same as Abu Ghraib prison. It's very stressful. All our mail and phone calls are monitored, that's why it took me a very long time to pass this message on. The court we are appealing to now - called the special immigration and appeals commission which has been made specifically for the detainees - we call it the fascist court martial because they use so-called secret evidence. The reason of this secret evidence… Because of national security. But this is an excuse only because subhan Allah nobody knows what this evidence is. Can you believe that our solicitors are not entitled by the rules of this court to look at the evidence against us so how can we defend ourselves? Certainly everything is based on fabrications and falsehood which can't be sufficient to be used in ordinary court. The judges are always on the side of the Government.
They only listen to what they get from intelligence sources. We need juries and we need a fair trial.
They have now signed an agreement with the dictator regime of Qaddafi in Libya, who had a very bad reputation in the west, who bombed Lockerbie, supported the IRA, and his regime was considered as the axis of evil. His regime name is still on the terror list at the United Nations. He does to his people, even more than what Saddam Hussein has done.
The agreement was that if I was deported I would get assurances by the Libyans that I wouldn't be tortured but the funny thing is that they both have got the right after six months of my deportation to withdraw from this agreement. This is an utter joke. This government simply and behind closed doors wants to hand me back to the fascist regime in Libya and to get me killed by death penalty. I've got proof that the Libyan government told the home office that I am a member of the Libyan Fighting Group, which I totally deny. And they say that if I was convicted, I would get the death penalty, which the British government wants.
At the end I've just got a message; one message to the Muslim Council of Britain and the other to my Muslim brothers and sisters. The message to the Muslim Council in this country: shame on you, shame on you, shame on you. You went to Iraq appealing for the release of Mr. Norman Kember, which was very kind of you anyway, as Sheikh Abu Qatada had done it as well - he appeared on TV and he said 'you must release him'. But you never spoke openly about our situation, or even try to arrange any demonstration against this unlawful detention for the past five years. The biggest kind of failure of this Muslim Council to help Muslims in this country, that (was when) one of the members called Dr El-Hilbawi was asked by the Government about the best way to deal with us. He replied "these people shouldn't be detained or sent back to their countries, but the best solution… to keep them in mental institution". He called us a crazy people, that we are not…
Subahan Allah he never came to us, and he never spoke to us, and he doesn't know anything about even about our daily life. He doesn't know nothing. We (were) kidnapped, we are hostages. Why he is saying we are crazy people and we should be detained? He only wants to please the British government.
This life is very short and Allah (subhaana wa ta'ala) certainly one day is going to judge between us insh Allah.
And my message to my sincere Muslim brothers and sisters: We are your brothers in Islam. This Islam is based on brotherhood. We are your brothers. Imagine your brother in blood… I seek your help after Allah, we all seek your help after Allah (subhaana wa ta'ala). We are going through a very difficult time. It is a responsibility on your shoulders. You must all write to the Home Secretary John Reid and ask him 'why did you put these people behind doors?' Tell Tony Blair, 'why don't you put these people before an ordinary court?' And also try to arrange a big demonstration for our immediate release. We all are innocent and we need to be around our families as everybody lives around his family.
The other thing we want the whole journalist in this country to demand the Government to visit us. We not asking for something wrong, we're asking for the media to come. The media went to Guantanamo, went to Abu Ghraib… went everywhere. Why don't they come to us in here? We would like to speak to them, we'd like to convey our message we are innocent people victimised by the British government. And we ask all the Muslim brothers and sisters to make a lot of du'a for us that Allah (subhaana wa ta'ala) keep us firm and to make a lot of du'a for our release, insh Allah. And the last thing is that, Imam Malik radi Allahu anhu said, if the Islamic state spent all the money till the last penny… in the Islamic state to release the Muslim prisoner, they should spend it. We're not asking our Muslim brothers to send us money in here for our food, we're asking them just to support us, just to go at least for demonstration, just to write, just to do something.
Wa'assalaamualaikum wa rahmat allahi wa barakatu.