- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A human rights group in Britain is outraged that one of its members — a high-profile director named Moazzam Begg, who was once imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay — was arrested in London over an investigation into his suspicious ties to terrorists in Syria.

Mr. Begg hasn’t been charged with anything, ABC reported. He’s only been detained with three others, based on intelligence reports that investigators want to question them about, police say, ABC reported.

But Mr. Begg’s colleagues at the human rights group CAGE, are outraged.

“We are disgusted that Moazzam Begg is being re-traumatized with the same guilt by association accusations that resulted in his unlawful incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. We fully support our colleague and see his arrest as politically motivated and as part of a campaign to criminalize legitimate activism,” said Asim Qureshi, a senior member of CAGE, in the ABC report.

Many in the nation hesitate to outright accuse Mr. Begg of being a terrorist or al Qaeda sympathizer because of strict libel laws that could turn the tables on prosecution, AP said. And that makes his detainment all the more significant, security officials said, explaining to ABC that investigators wouldn’t have held Mr. Begg unless they had convincing evidence of his involvement in terrorist-related activity.

Mr. Begg was previously arrested in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicions of fighting for Afghanistan. He was transferred to Gitmo in 2004, but never charged or convicted for terrorist activity. He was then released from the Cuba facility in 2005, and wrote a book, alleging he was beaten while in Gitmo, ABC reported.

“My thought is that the Brits’ suspicions about him have never left them,” said Robin Simcox, a terrorism analyst at the Henry Jackson Society in London, to ABC. “Blowback could happen. But from the state’s point of view, you’ve got to enforce the law … to the police, Begg has been a character of interest for a long time.”