Profiles: Guantanamo Bay Britons


Who are the UK residents who were held at Guantanamo Bay? BBC News looks at their backgrounds - and what has happened to them since.

Binyam Mohamed

Binyam Mohamed spent just under seven years in custody - four of those were at the US's Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba.

US authorities claimed he was a would-be bomber. He says evidence against him was extracted during torture.

Born in Ethiopia in 1978, he was allowed to settle in the UK in 2000 following an asylum claim.

In 2001, Mr Mohamed travelled to Pakistan and then Afghanistan in an attempt, he says, to immerse himself in Islam and kick his drug habit.

Pakistani officials arrested Mr Mohamed in Karachi in 2002 as he waited to fly back to the UK. He says he was tortured in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan between 2002 and 2004, including being beaten and scalded and having his penis slashed with a scalpel. He was eventually taken to Guantanamo Bay.

The Court of Appeal ordered the release of documents that confirmed that Washington had told London of the ill-treatment. Critically, Mr Mohamed alleges that his interrogators in Morocco were fed questions by London.

Jamil el-Banna

Jamil el-Banna, a mechanic, is a Jordanian with refugee status in the UK who lives in north-west London.

He was detained in Cuba in early 2003 following capture in Gambia in November 2002. He came back to the UK in December 2007 where he was reunited with his family, including a four-year-old daughter who he met for the first time. She had been born after he was detained.

On his return he was arrested, following a Spanish extradition request, but this charge was dropped in 2008.

Bisher al-Rawi

Bisher Al Rawi came to the UK with his family when he was 16, fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Bisher Al Rawi had his own engineering business. He never applied for British citizenship in the hope that he could return to Iraq to reclaim his family's land.

Having studied engineering at university, he went on to run his own business in south-west London.

In 2002, Mr Al Rawi was arrested in the Gambia along with his friend Jamil el-Banna. He was reunited with his family in the UK in April 2007.

Abdenour Sameur

Abdenour Sameur is an Algerian army deserter who came to Britain in 1999 and was later granted refugee status. He lived in south Harrow, London.

Mr Sameur was given leave to remain in the UK but travelled to Afghanistan because he says he found it hard to live as a "good Muslim" in Britain.

He was arrested in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan while in the company of a group of Arabs. He returned to the UK in December 2007.

Feroz Abbasi

Born in Uganda, he moved to Britain with his family when he was eight and they settled on the outskirts of south-east London.

He was reportedly detained by US forces in December 2001, in Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan.

In November 2002, the British Court of Appeal said it found his detention in Cuba "legally objectionable", but stopped short of forcing the government to intervene on his behalf.

His mother Zumrati Juma, a nurse, said at the time that he was just one of a number of idealistic young Muslims caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Richard Belmar

Mr Belmar was held by Pakistani authorities before being moved to Cuba. His family say he was a troublesome teenager, but after becoming a Muslim was polite and respectful.

The US authorities claim he was captured at an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan. But his father, Joseph, said at the time that allegations against his son didn't stack up.

Mr Belmar was repatriated to the UK in 2005 and briefly held for questioning before police released him without charge.

Moazzam Begg

The Birmingham man was detained by the CIA in Pakistan in February 2002. He was moved to Cuba in February 2003.

Mr Begg and his family had been living in Afghanistan but moved to Pakistan in the wake of the US bombings.

In a letter sent from Guantanamo Bay, he said he had been tortured, threatened with death and kept in solitary confinement since early 2003.

Interviews "were conducted in an environment of generated fear, resonant with terrifying screams of fellow detainees facing similar methods," he wrote.

"In this atmosphere of severe antipathy toward detainees was the compounded use of racially and religiously prejudiced taunts."

Since his release, Mr Begg has written a book detailing his experiences and he tours the UK campaigning for Islamic issues.

Martin Mubanga

Mr Mubanga a joint Zambian and British national, travelled from Pakistan to the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to stay with his sister in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Not long after his arrival there, he told his parents he had heard news reports that someone with his name had been arrested in Afghanistan and he was concerned an extremist was using his missing British passport.

He was held in Zambia, along with his sister, before the authorities there placed him in the custody of the Americans. His sister was released.

Documents released in the British courts reveal a row between Downing Street and the Foreign Office over whether to intervene when it became clear that the US authorities may move him to Guantanamo Bay.

Rhuhel Ahmed

Rhuhel Ahmed arrived back in London in 2004 after two-and-a-half years in Guantanamo Bay. Police briefly held him for questioning and then released him.

On returning to Tipton in the West Midlands, some local people set fire to an effigy of him in an orange Guantanamo Bay boiler suit.

Along with the other two detainees from Tipton, he took part in a feature film, the Road to Guantanamo, chronicling his experience of being arrested in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and transported to Cuba.

He credits his detention at Guantanamo with discovering Islam, which he knew little about until his arrest at the age of 18.

Mr Ahmed has said he wants to see former leaders George Bush and Tony Blair put on trial for their part in his incarceration.

Shafiq Rasul

Mr Rasul's family insisted that he grew up as a as a shy, "westernised", Black Country lad who condemned the 11 September attacks.

In October 2001 he travelled to Pakistan, apparently for a Microsoft computer course as it was cheaper than the UK equivalent.

He was seized in Afghanistan on suspicion of being a terrorist and taken to Guantanamo.

Asif Iqbal

Mr Iqbal, also from Tipton, left school at age 16 to work in a factory. It was at his family's suggestion that Asif went to Pakistan, and his father, Mohammed, accompanied him.

But after meeting his bride-to-be, he told his father he wanted some time to think and went to Karachi. He was detained in northern Afghanistan.

After their release in March 2004, Mr Iqbal and Mr Rasul sent an open letter to President Bush detailing the alleged abuse they suffered at Guantanamo.

Tarek Dergoul

Tarek Dergoul, freed at the same time as Rhuhel Ahmed, says it took him five years to put his life back together in the UK.

He still receives counselling to cope with the aftermath of the mistreatment he says he endured.

The former signwriter had an arm amputated after he was hurt in a US missile attack on Afghanistan after 9/11.

He claims that once in US custody in Kandahar he was interrogated while having a frostbitten toe removed.

His American captors accused him of having links to the al-Qaeda network but, like Rhuhel Ahmed, he was never charged or put before a military tribunal.

Looking back at his experiences in Guantanamo, the east London man says it was "a test". Asked how he performed, he adds: "I like to think I did OK… but it's not over until it's over."

Omar Deghayes

Omar Deghayes, a Libyan refugee, was held at the US facility at Guantanamo Bay for five years, accused of having trained at terror camps in Afghanistan and having been photographed fighting in Chechnya.

When he was freed and flown home, he another detainee from Britain, Jamil el-Banna, were threatened with extradition to Spain to face terrorism charges there but the case was dropped.

Mr Deghayes had been training to become a lawyer before he travelled to Afghanistan.

"America's forefathers were thinking of a land of liberty, justice and democracy," he said, "and Guantanamo Bay has become a symbol that betrays all these things they formed the country for."

Mr Deghayes says his main aim is to be reunited with his Afghan wife and seven-year-old son, neither of whom he has seen since his arrest in Lahore in early 2002.

Jamal Udeen al-Harith

Born Ronald Fiddler to devout churchgoing Jamaican parents, Udeen converted to Islam in his 20s.

The father-of three had been away from home only three weeks when he was captured in Afghanistan. He said he travelled to Pakistan to study Muslim culture, but was taken prisoner after straying into Afghanistan by mistake.

After his release in 2004, he told the Daily Mirror that US guards at the camp in Cuba tortured and abused him.

Shaker Aamer

Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, originally from Saudi Arabia, had been living in the UK since 1996 - and remains at Guantanamo Bay.

He reportedly travelled to Afghanistan in August 2001 to carry out voluntary charity work when he was captured.

Mr Aamer had been applying for citizenship and had indefinite leave to stay in the UK when he was captured. He lived in London with his wife and three children, all British citizens, and worked as an interpreter for a firm of solicitors. A fourth child has been born since his capture.

Ahmed Errachidi

Mr Errachidi, also known as Rachidi, came to the UK in 1985 and was later given indefinite leave to remain.

Formerly a chef in London, he was detained in Pakistan in 2002 for allegedly attending an Afghan al-Qaeda training camp the previous year.

He was later cleared by the US of any wrongdoing and released from Guantanamo Bay. He returned to Morocco in April 2007.

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