Born and raised in England, Moazzam Begg was taken from a family home in Pakistan in 2002. Begg was held for three years in U.S. prisons in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Begg spent two years in solitary confinement (in a room by himself), was questioned on three hundred occasions for long periods of time and saw two detainees killed by prison guards. He was never charged with a crime. He was released from prison in 2005 without any explanation or apology. Begg recently published a book about his experiences called Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar.
“ONE OF THE GUARDS TOLD ME, ‘WHEN WE SEE YOU PEOPLE, WE CAN’T LOOK AT YOU AS HUMAN BEINGS. IT’S EASY FOR US TO DEHUMANIZE YOU. FIRST OF ALL, YOU GUYS DON’T EVEN SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE. SECONDLY, YOU LOOK DIFFERENT. THIRDLY, YOU’RE IN CAGES AND WE’RE OUT HERE WITH THE GUNS.” — Moazzam Begg, Amnesty International Conference, 11/19/05
A Canadian citizen, Maher Arar was detained by U.S. officials in 2002 as he was returning to Canada from a vacation. The U.S. falsely accused Arar of links to terrorism and sent him to Syria, where he was born. In Syria he was beaten and tortured and held for a year. In September 2006 the Canadian government cleared Arar of the accusations against him. In October he was given the International Human Rights Award by the Institute for Policy Studies.
By Amanda Vender