Begg’s statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event


by Sunny
15th February, 2010 at 11:53 pm    

Exclusive: I’ve managed to get a statement by Moazzam Begg on why he pulled out of the Amnesty event tomorrow. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.

* * * * *
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 www.cageprisoners.com.

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


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Begg's statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event http://bit.ly/abtEdv


  2. HarpyMarx

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Begg's statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event http://bit.ly/abtEdv


  3. From Pickled Politics: Moazzam Begg’s statement « Harpymarx

    [...] From Pickled Politics: Moazzam Begg’s statement 16 02 2010 Below is from Sunny via Pickled Politics [...]


  4. earwicga

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Begg's statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event http://bit.ly/abtEdv


  5. Left Outside

    RT @pickledpolitics Pickled Politics » Begg’s statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event http://bit.ly/cGDhpX


  6. Amnesty, Moazzam Begg, Gita Sahgal – Link roundup « Earwicga

    [...] January 2010  Begg’s Statement:  why he pulled out of the Amnesty event  Pickled Politics, [...]


  7. Moazzam Begg On Pulling Out of Amnesty Event « Ten Percent

    [...] Guantanamo event while fully booked out, Moazzam Begg was not going to participate, now Sunny @ Pickled Politics has this statement (and promising more tomorrow) by Begg which I think credibly raises the [...]


  8. Moazzam Begg’s dignified explanation of why he is not attending Amnesty’s screening of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” | Andy Worthington

    [...] had no intention of publishing it in advance, but have done so because Sunny Hundal published it on Pickled Politics, stating, “I managed to get a statement by Moazzam Begg on why he pulled out of the Amnesty [...]


  9. Milena Buyum

    RT @pickledpolitics Blog post:: Begg's statement: why he pulled out of Amnesty event http://bit.ly/abtEdv




  1. earwicga — on 16th February, 2010 at 12:27 am  

    As I said on another thread, it is a shame that Moazzam Begg has had to pull out of this event. But I had thought it would be for the very reasons quoted above.

    It is very important that the focus remain on human rights and Shaker Aamer rather than the rubbish that Gita Sahgal has chosen to take to the Sunday Times and Richard Kerbaj.

    I would urge everybody to look into Kerbaj’s work both at the ST and at his previous position in Murdoch’s The Australian and before that at The Oz. It is not nice reading and has been widely criticised.

  2. A.C. — on 16th February, 2010 at 8:11 am  

    Mr Begg,

    “But, I truly cannot understand why this is all happening now”

    It has to do with Gita Sahgal standing up for her beliefs at personal risk, a commitment you should understand.

    I’m sure Sunny has tried just as hard to secure her exclusive views on the situation, but alas to no avail…

  3. cjcjc — on 16th February, 2010 at 8:12 am  

    Thanks Mr Begg.

    Having popped over to your website I had forgotten that you campaign on behalf of terrorists convicted through due process as well as those illegally imprisoned.

    Anyway, let’s hope AI has learned its lesson.

  4. Yakoub — on 16th February, 2010 at 9:41 am  

    Salaams Moazzam

    Unlike some people, you understand that human rights are universal, and not just applicable to people you agree with or like.

    And you put the people you serve first, before vain, individualistic displays of ‘personal principle’.

    Wasalaam

  5. Morrigan — on 16th February, 2010 at 9:49 am  

    Mr Begg,

    I think it’s clear to most of us that you have pulled out because of a justified public backlash against Amnesty for associating with your jihadi-sympathising group Cageprisoners.

    Your pretense of innocent bewilderment is… touching.

  6. Amused Indeed — on 16th February, 2010 at 9:59 am  

    Harry’s Place, in the shape of “Lucy Lips”, aka corporate lawyer David Toube, is doing what it does best: strutting, preening, being bellicose, and talking bullshit. Such as asking us to believe that Gita Sahgal “sacrificed her career”. Well, they have their instant hero; that is, until Sahgal says something that pisses off HP, like any intelligent person would.

  7. Faisal — on 16th February, 2010 at 10:07 am  

    Sunny, looking forward to your next “Exclusive”:

    Anwar al-Awlaki: Why he is the misunderstood Human Rights Champion of the World.

  8. Morrigan — on 16th February, 2010 at 10:07 am  

    @5: Hundal your sock puppets are as foul-mouthed as you, it’s a bit of a giveaway.

  9. Mark T — on 16th February, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    “If people are interested in knowing my views regarding all the controversies discussed in the national press last week they be can seen on http://www.cageprisoners.com.”

    Yes, “cage prisoners” like Abu Hamza, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Sheikh Omar Abdur Rahman.

    FFS.

  10. Paul Moloney — on 16th February, 2010 at 10:41 am  

    “Yes, “cage prisoners” like Abu Hamza, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Sheikh Omar Abdur Rahman.”

    I’m just curious, but is there _any_ person jailed in the UK related to Islamist terrorism who Cageprisoners don’t claim is innocent?

    P.

  11. MiriamBinder — on 16th February, 2010 at 10:50 am  

    I really fail to see what all this highlighting of the issues that concern caged prisoners has to do with whether or not AI is actually addressing Human Right Abuses regardless of where, why and by whom the are perpetrated.

    It would be far more indecent if we disregarded human rights abuses because we agree to Human Rights being abused provided it is in our name

  12. Efrafan Days — on 16th February, 2010 at 11:05 am  

    Lol, Faisal.

    Moazzam, we have looked at your webpage. An appeal to check a webpage is the last refuge of the confused.

  13. Faisal — on 16th February, 2010 at 11:26 am  

    The tone and content of this post and Sunny Hundal’s breathless endorsement of Cageprisoners and Moazzam Begg and the self-blinkering on display is the most shameful thing I have yet to see on this blog. Just when I thought Hundal’s moral bankruptcy couldn’t get any worse.

  14. A.C. — on 16th February, 2010 at 11:31 am  

    Faisal,
     
    “The tone and content of this post and Sunny Hundal’s breathless endorsement of Cageprisoners and Moazzam Begg and the self-blinkering on display is the most shameful thing I have yet to see on this blog.”

    Agreed.

  15. Paul Moloney — on 16th February, 2010 at 11:47 am  

    “I’m just curious, but is there _any_ person jailed in the UK related to Islamist terrorism who Cageprisoners don’t claim is innocent?”

    Bueller?

    Bueller?

    P.

  16. Efrafan Days — on 16th February, 2010 at 11:54 am  

    Yes, Faisal. Legislation regarding sexual consent could do with a re-examination, but I wouldn’t make Jonathan King the spokesman.

    Begg doesn’t deny he was involved with what’s coyly called repression during Taleban-controlled Afghanistan (and that he began his road to Guantanamo in the late 90s suggests it was linked to stuff like Kashmir before US foreign policy).

    His – and other’s – ex jure imprisonment was wrong, with regards to both commitment to rule of law *and* failing to examine the charges against him. Before anyone says innocent until proven guilty (it’s bound to happen), this does not preclude discussion of the accused’s guilt – just stuff like ex jure imprisonment.

  17. Paul Stott — on 16th February, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    Did he jump, or was he pushed?

  18. Efrafan Days — on 16th February, 2010 at 1:43 pm  

    Even if he were quietly pushed, it was still quiet… allowing him to claim he’s been the victim of unexplained opposition from people Sunny hates.

  19. Arif — on 16th February, 2010 at 3:39 pm  

    Efrafan Days, the only way I think Cageprisoners might effectively campaign for fair trials for detainees AND make their own judgments on guilt or innocence in the absence of a trial would be:

    a. If they had access to the level of resources available to well-functioning systems of justice.

    b. Access to all relevant information held about these individuals and the co-operation of authorities around the world to investigate and verify the information.

    c. Representations from lawyers with full access to the detainees and confidence of those detainees and access to the information on their clients which is also available to the prosecution.

    Until that is available, I think Cageprisoners should stick to using their (probably scarce) resources to campaign and educate on the issues, and provide the detainees with the minimal comfort that they have not been forgotten. It is not their job to replicate a functioning justice system.

    I do think there is an issue about their purity on human rights – and Moazzam Begg implicitly accepts this by saying he does not claim to have every answer on human rights. I believe he probably does not want to be pushed to develop more answers, and I would understand why Gita Sahgal might be suspicious about this.

    Cageprisoners is, however, free to define their own human rights agenda and keep areas of it undefined if they feel that helps their agenda.

    We are all free to be suspicious, and Amnesty is also free to define how much suspicion it should have and what to base it on – but I would be very uncomfortable if they based it on innuendo and selective quotations being put about. They should develop a consistent process and criteria which is independent of media pressure which would marginalise unpopular causes.

  20. mirax — on 16th February, 2010 at 3:44 pm  

    Sunny, shame on you!You have truly lost your way when you put up a defence for a cretin and hypocrite like Begg before a genuine human rights activitist like Sahgal. I have just one question for the all the fucked up halfwits on this site who defend Begg : what was he doing and saying on behalf of all the prisoners of conscience detained without trial in Malaysia when being feted by Mahathir numerous times? What had he to say on allegations of torture of prisoners in that country? On the many hundreds of deaths in police custody?

    I have searched the web assiduously and found …zilch. Begg did wax lyrical while in Malaysia but not on behalf of prisoners of conscience but their jailors. He fellated Mahathir saying that the troofer and vile antisemitic should have won the Nobel Peace Prize instead of Obama. Nice one Begg ! Renounced jihad much?

  21. Sunny — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

    mirax – oh you’re still here? I thought you threw a strop and fucked off so you could bad mouth me from somewhere else? Why don’t you do that again.

    Faisal: Sunny Hundal’s breathless endorsement of Cageprisoners

    Interesting that, given when I first wrote about this issue Faisal, I said this:

    I’m not going to bother defending CP really. I spoke to a (Muslim) friend last night who admitted that he had his own reservations about them because they had gone further than simply trying to agitate for Gitmo to be closed, and to trying to defend other Islamist radicals, even some who had been convicted on terrorism offences.

    They should have strongly distanced themselves from Anwar al-Awlaki and other Islamists. They have people like Yvonne Ridley representing her: an apologist for the Taliban and the Iranian regime.

    Thing is Faisal – you’ve become a lowly smear merchant who I stopped taking seriously ages ago.

    You don’t have anything substantial to add to the debate, you continously misrepresent what people say and in this case are lying through your teeth like a foolish idiot.

    You don’t even bother checking your sources to even take a cursory glance at what people have written. Why in the world should I care for what you say? Your credibility is nothing. Meaningless.

  22. mirax — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:14 pm  

    A bit sensitive arent we?

    Ahh just the usual punjabi hardboy swagger and insults! No answer to the questions though?

    This site makes me feel dirty and I will be taking off (like all of your previous co-writers and about 80 percent of your old readership).Only popped in for Sahgal.Done duty. Finished.

  23. Faisal — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:17 pm  

    Well as long we’re completely mutual. :-)

    But I do find this interesting:

    “You don’t have anything substantial to add to the debate, you continously misrepresent what people say and in this case are lying through your teeth like a foolish idiot.”

    I would be interested to know what you think I’m lying “through my teeth” about in this case.

  24. Sunny — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Ahh just the usual punjabi hardboy swagger and insults!

    Oh yeah, must all be down to be being punjabi. We’re all a bunch of hotheads aren’t we? Yes, please take your low level racism somewhere else. And thanks for your concern about the blog’s readership but I don’t write for fools like yourself. I say what I feel like saying.

    I would be interested to know what you think I’m lying about in this case.

    You have a real hard time reading don’t you? Read the post above. Again. If you have comprehension problems, perhaps ask your mate Douglas Murray to explain slowly.

  25. Faisal — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

    I don’t get it. What have I “lied through my teeth about”? Incidentally, Douglas Murray is not my “mate”.

  26. Efrafan Days — on 16th February, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

    >> Until that is available, I think Cageprisoners should stick to using their (probably scarce) resources to campaign and educate on the issues, and provide the detainees with the minimal comfort that they have not been forgotten.

    This is not the charge being levied against them, as I think you know deep down. The charge is that they voice an assumption that *anyone* imprisoned for jihadist-related offenses in this country – including Abu Hamza – is, ipso facto, virtuous and wrongfully convicted.

    >> It is not their job to replicate a functioning justice system.

    No-one here is claiming they, or AI should.

  27. FG — on 17th February, 2010 at 2:01 am  

    Can I ask where did Cageprisoners ever state that the aformentioned prisoners were innocent, virtuous or wrongly convicted? They merely report and document on the cases in their news and articles and prisoner section. That makes them no different from any other news outlet or broadsheet – it’s an information portal. Please point to where, in their campaigns or advocacy work, they have acted on behalf of the aforementioned. This is the crux of the matter which all the commentators I’ve seen so far have missed.

  28. Nyrone — on 21st February, 2010 at 1:39 pm  

    I totally agree with Sunny, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that the usual idiots are out in force to call Sunny names and claim this blog ‘has sunk to an all-time low’ etc, why are you people still reading?

    Your ‘line’ on this affair appears to be nothing more than ‘Moazzam Begg is a terrorist-sympathiser’ what NONSENSE! Do you know this man? Met him? Read his books, articles? Listen to him go around the country often being the only rational voice of clarity, bringing the guards and inmates of Guantanamo together, talking about solutions to many of the issues that affect us?

    Thought not.
    I wish people would stop using this ‘event’ to throw everything they have at AI too, so childish and absurd.

  29. Nyrone — on 21st February, 2010 at 1:42 pm  

    It sometimes feels like people forget that Moazzam Begg has had direct experience of Gitmo and Bagram and still continues to bravely fight on. I think his courage in what he does is tremendous.

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