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Azmat Begg: my son is a decent boy

Breakfast's main story this morning is the release of five of the British men who are being held at Guantanamo Bay.

British police have launched a full investigation into their cases.

It's thought they will be questioned by the anti Terrorist Branch when they arrive home within the next few weeks, although they do not pose a threat to national security.

Four more British men - Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar - are still being detained by the American authorities.

  • Breakfast brought you the latest on the Guantanamo releases, from 0600:

  • The father's story:

    We talked live to Azmat Begg, from Birmingham, whose son Moazzam is being held in Guantanamo after being arrested in Pakistan.

    "My son is a decent boy," he told us. "This is just a political game. He is not a threat to security - they're just making it up.

    "These boys have been born and brought up here - they're law-abiding boys.

    Azmat Begg says that his son was trying to set up a school in Aghanistan to teach basic literacy and numeracy.

    When the American bombardment began, he and his young family moved to Pakistan, where he was arrested.

    "My message to Jack Straw is that you are mistaken and my son is not a terrorist or anything like that," he told us.

    click here to watch our interview in full with Azmat Begg

  • Guantanamo campaigners

    We talked to the actor Corinne Redgrave, who's the co-founder of the Guantanamo Bay Human Rights Commision, which has been campaiging for the prisoners' release.

    "The idea that they will be interviwed by the police under the anti-terrorism laws is adding insult to injury," he told us.

    "The foreign office knows these men are innocent."

    click here watch our interview in full with Corinne Redgrave

  • We talked to Geraint Davies, who's the constiuency MP for Feroz Abbasi

    "It's very good news that some are being released," he told us. "I can only assume that there is no evidence whatsoever against them.

    "Quite clearly they do not represent any risk."

    He added: "The main issue is that my constituent does have a fair trial with proper evidence."

    click here to watch our interview in full with Geraint Davies

  • And we asked what you think

    click here to go straight to our Your Comments page


    Further details from BBC News Online

    The detainees themselves will not be told they are going home until Friday evening, BBC News has learned.

    Home Secretary David Blunkett has said they pose no threat to UK security.

    But Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said police would decide whether to arrest them and they could still face charges in UK courts under anti-terrorism laws.

    Nine Britons have been among more than 660 terror suspects held at the United States base on Cuba for two years without trial.

    London and Washington are continuing to discuss the fate of the four remaining British detainees.

    DETAINEES BEING RELEASED Shafiq Rasul, 24, of Tipton, West Midlands Asif Iqbal, 20, of Tipton Ruhal Ahmed, 21, of Tipton Jamal Udeen, 35, from Manchester Tarek Dergoul, 24, from east London
    Families' joy at news

    Those being freed will be isolated from the other detainees before being told they are to be sent home. Their release will come in the next few weeks.

    US Major General Geoffrey Miller, who recommended the men be released, told BBC News his intelligence teams had exploited every detail of information the men knew.

    He denied they might have been innocent, but added they now posed little threat.

    Most of the Britons are believed to have been arrested in Pakistan or Afghanistan as suspected al-Qaeda or Taleban fighters.

    Peter Clarke, head of anti-terrorism at Scotland Yard, said the police had a responsibility "to all communities" to investigate all the circumstances that led to the suspects' detention.

    Each of the released men's cases would be examined individually, he said.

    BRITISH MEN STILL BEING HELD Moazzam Begg, 36, from Birmingham Feroz Abbasi, 23, from south London Martin Mubanga, 29, from north London Richard Belmar, 23, from London
    Father vows to fight on

    "This process has built in safeguards and is subject to independent scrutiny to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly and properly," Mr Clarke said.

    The investigations would be strictly in accordance with UK law and the anti-terrorist branch would contact the men's families and legal representatives, he added.

    Greg Powell, the solicitor for one of the men, told BBC News he did not expect them to face charges.

    "The government know very well these men were never kind of security risk, and the Americans have said they pose no threat to the United States."

    The five men being released are: Shafiq Rasul, of Tipton, West Midlands; Asif Iqbal, of Tipton; Ruhal Ahmed, of Tipton; Jamal Udeen, 35, from Manchester, and Tarek Dergoul, from east London.

    They do not include Feroz Abbasi and Moazzam Begg, the two high-profile British detainees the US authorities say face potential trials before a military tribunal.



  • E-mail this to a friend Printable version WATCH AND LISTEN Coming home
    The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports for Breakfast from Guantanamo Bay




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