BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2004, 11:45 GMT
Your comments

Your comments on the Out of Guantanamo programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC.

The e-mails published will be reflective of the messages we have been sent.

Jamal Udeen maybe innocent but what happened to Ronnie Fiddler? Hitching a lift out of Pakistan landed him deep trouble. Does he understand that it doesn't matter what side you bat for - if a civvy and caught up in a conflict you are the enemy to both sides.

As I understand it was Afghan tribesmen who handed him over to the Taleban that started his terrible nightmare. Then caught by the Americans - 2 years Guantanamo Bay - released. I dread to think if the Taleban had won - death sentence - regardless of his belief/loyalties ?

The boy was caught in the crossfire. I wish justice could have released him and not just because he had a British Passport? Thousands have died over the centuries for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lucky boy!
Denise, England

The comments of some that "these people were arrested fighting against the British forces" etc are unbelievable. The detainee Jamal who was first to be released seems to have been entirely innocent. The cases of the other 4 are questionable - they may have been fighting against the UK, they may have been planning to or they may be entirely innocent. But the Panorama programme and other independent reports have shown one thing clearly - that no evidence has been produced to prove one way or the other their innocence. In this case, they must be presumed innocent. British justice demands it. Those who would find them guilty and make sweeping statements about Muslims on that basis are the ones who are really betraying British values of justice and fairplay.
Joe Ahmed-Dobon, London, UK

Sean Laffan is a narrow minded person when he says that "To me Muslims do not consider themselves citizens of a country, but Muslims and only Muslims rules apply."

I am a Muslim. I consider to be a citizen of this country. I follow my faith but also abide by the law of the land. It is not Muslims that are the danger. It is the people who perceive all Muslims to be terrorists who are the real danger to world peace.
Tahir, London, England

I think the world we live in now is far more dangerous than before September 11th and that is mostly due to the paranoia, fear and ignorance by most people. i am not a Muslim myself but I have studied Islam and it is about Love. Keeping people locked up in cells with no proof that they have committed any crime is wrong and unjust and serves to create more terrorism.
Marian Hanson, Birmingham, England

Good to see the detainees repatriated. They may like to reflect on the generosity of a country which sends a plane and personnel to ensure their religious and dietary needs during the trip. They will find this country provides many opportunities to work and support families. If this is their plan they will be welcome; if their agenda is to undermine the country that has nurtured them, they will be better of elsewhere.
Richard Ash, Stourbridge, England

A lot of the people on this forum refer to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay being found in a "war" zone. What were we doing in Afghanistan anyway. Why were we bombing the country back to the stone age? George Bush and his cronies refuse to give evidence to the investigation into 9/11, and there seems to be a major theory that Saudi Arabia was involved. Time to get real, people, and start questioning things instead of advocating imprisonment without trial.
Dixie, England

I think that it is telling that within 24 hours our police have seen fit to release these men from custody. Due process of the law is the only way to deal with unlawful combatants to protect the innocent. By all means we must land heavily with all our military might on the countries where they congregate and plan to attack us from, but having taken control we must show them that we hold the principles of justice as being inviolate and will treat all people equally under the Law, regardless of faith or ethnicity.
Phil Petravich, Norwich, UK

How can anyone be sure that the detainees were actually caught fighting. That is the assumption being made in most of the comments above. Was Jamal Udeen not found in prison after being captured by the Taleban? How can then he be fighting for them?
Naveeda Morgan, Cardiff

I fail to believe that these individuals are innocent people. They were merely caught before committing acts of violence themselves. Their presence in Afghanistan soon after the numerous calls for Jihad, post 9-11, is reason enough to lock them up. Certainly, there is enough evidence on conspiracy and treason charges, but their "innocence" is merely window-dressing. This is merely a political act to appease public opinion without regard for the safety of our own societies still fighting a real war on terrorism. As such, releasing these individuals is itself an act aiding terrorism. How many more bombs must go off before Europe wakes up to the very real threat of terrorists living on its soil?
Tony Raftopol, New York City, USA

I'm a bit shocked reading the comments of some who are against the release of the Guantanamo five. Naive some of the five may have been, possibly idealistic, but who was it who made Afghanistan a combat zone? Who invaded that country and under what pretext and to what lasting good? We should not forget that none of the 9/11 terrorists came from Afghanistan (rather most came from a corrupt Saudi Arabia supported by the West) and that Osama Bin Laden has not yet been captured.

Yes, find terrorists and stop them carrying out their terrible deeds but also stop sowing the seeds that lead people to become terrorists in the first place. Injustice is certainly one of those seeds and thankfully here in the UK justice is being done. Compare the success of the UK government in drawing the IRA into political dialogue with the failure of the current Spanish government in drawing ETA into a similar dialogue with all its tragic consequences. No excuses for terrorism but also please no excuses for oppression and injustice.
Colin Moore, Totnes

I am glad to see the Guantanamo prisoners released. We must remember that some of the prisoners were not arrested in a war zone. Two of the recently released men were arrested by in Pakistan. Purely because they were suspected of being on the way to fight for the Taliban. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Well that's what happened. Some were even arrested before September 11th. If any of the released men had one ounce of suspicion on them, the Americans would never have released them. It's that simple.
Ahmed, Cardiff

People are saying that these were at a wrong place, at the wrong time, is all rubbish. You don't choose to be at a wrong place, at a wrong time, rather you choose it. Those who have been released will become a threat to the community and I think, the communities will find it difficult to accept them and integrate them, to rebuild their lives, as they were used to before all this happened. They will be looked at as those with ambitions of going to jihad and killing Non-Muslims, and infidels.
Ashar J Khokhar, Leeds

I never thought the day would come that I, a sixty year old, would be forced away from the BBC to seek un-biased reporting of news events. When will the BBC learn that free thinking viewers prefer the examination of the facts, or perceived facts, to be presented in a manner that does not reflect an editorial bias, the type of bias more associated with tabloid journalism.

If five percent of the programme was dedicated to putting the American's point of view, or indeed the view of the general public that being in a war zone is not the best place to be under any circumstances, I would be surprised. Be it "back packing", running away from an arranged marriage, or any other similar reason any person with any sense would not have chosen Afghanistan, unless of course there was another reason?

By waiting rather than rushing into screening such a programme time could have been given to proper research, in particular the movements and associates of the detainees prior to their internment. This may well have resulted, or will result in removing any suspicion from the detainees but the net result of screening this ill-conceived programme has been to further the cause of those religious fanatics who believe that we in the west are all anti Moslem and provide propaganda inherent in this type of reporting for the recruitment of tomorrows terrorist.
Robert Barrett, Cressing, Essex

Why all the derogatory comments regarding the fact that these men were released by the Americans following their abominable treatment? Why do people continue to assume that just because these men were picked up by, or handed over to, US forces they must be guilty of something?

If there was even the slightest of evidence against these men it would have made front page headlines and have been used by the Americans to justify the existence of their concentration camp in Cuba. Instead, they have taken their time in releasing innocent men following two years of brutal incarceration [and if anyone disagrees that conditions were brutal, think of this - how would you feel if you were held without charge in a foreign country with no charges, no defence, know that you could be there for the rest of your life and that your own government would not lift a finger to save you?] and were expecting the men to be detained in similar conditions on their repatriation.

This much is true - if I was taken prisoner by US troops in such a way, and incarcerated in their concentration camp, I would devote my every remaining day to killing Americans.
anon, UK

Home at last! Jamal Udeen just in the wrong place at the wrong time, as for the others if it had been 20 years ago against the Russians, the Americans would have trained them as would the British SAS to fight their war by proxy against the 'commie threat', now the Muslims are the perceived 'threat' all cos Bush couldn't grease his buddies palms with an oil pipeline through afghani territory, but they've got it now they ousted the Taleban.
Mo Siddique, Bolton, U.K

Most people are opposed to Guantanamo Bay not because they are sympathetic to terrorists but because of the lack of due process in their treatment. If those people are terrorists, as many suggest, let them be charged now and be proven guilty in a court of law. If not they should be let free.

As for treason, that argument was nullified in Nuremberg and is now incompatible with the International Criminal Court Britain has signed up to. The arrogance of some who believe their lives are worth more than the lives of those detained is unbelievable. We all have the same human rights, Muslim or not.
Gregory Roumeliotis, Glasgow, UK

Are we safe from the men released from Guantanamo Bay? They didn't go to Afghanistan or Pakistan for a picnic.
Aisha, UK

At one time Panorama used to be the most respected voice of the most respected broadcasting company in the world. Regrettably both statements have now proved entirely false

Fair and balanced journalism, solely quoting facts without any spin is now unknown to the BBC. Testament to this is the appalling programme on the detainees at Guantanamo

The programme just transmitted - evidently written in preparation for current events is a travesty. Where in it was the need for Britain to protect itself from terrorists who have no respect for civil justice themselves? Where did it question why those so called citizens were in these countries and had terrorist links in the first place? I am sorry - but every revelation about the BBC moves me to every other channel

I was brought up on the BBC Respected it and listened to it - but honestly it has now gone far far to far in anti-government (of any party) pushing of its own perceptions rather than true fair balanced journalism - purely presenting the facts. The BBC will sink into a demise of its own creation - I hope
Peter Fry, Farnborough England

I think it is important to side on the rule of law, and not imprison people with due cause, but what must also be remembered is that these "British" men were arrested in Afghanistan fighting on the side of the Taleban against our soldiers. If they fired one shot in anger against our side, its treason in my book, plain and simple.
Robert Jewell, Swansea

This country interned Germans in the war, Irish during the troubles in Ireland, why not Britons. It's no get out being a Muslims, if you a danger or traitor to this country then you should be treated as such. To me Muslims do not consider themselves citizens of a country, but Muslims and only Muslims rules apply.

This makes them very dangers for the further in this country. We have had murderous religious trouble in this country for hundred of years and we are only just starting to get over the last of this religious based problem. (Northern Ireland) Are we going to allow a problem to get out of hand? We have to be firm now or our children will have to suffer are inaction against people who believe in only one thing, their way.

If a British Muslim wants to be involved in religious terrorism, and fight the elected government and the people of this country, they should not to be welcome in a secular Britain and have to suffer the consequences or move out.
Sean Laffan, Cambridge, UK

It is a red herring to suggest that these men are innocent of any wrongdoing unless proved beyond reasonable doubt, their very presence as non-state/mercenary combatants in a war zone suggests a balance of probability should be sufficient grounds. Furthermore, by not renouncing their British citizenship, they feel they can hide behind a flag of convenience despite treacherously fighting against their so-called homelands national interests.

The "liberals" who leap to their defence should ponder for a second the agenda these Taliban/Al-Qaeda francs tireurs are pushing and what place they and their freedoms would occupy in Osama Bin Laden's New World Order of medieval backwardness.
Stuart Edwards, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Watching the RAF aeroplane landing at Northolt on Tuesday night on TV was a "good-news" event for me. The Americans want no rejoicing over the release of these four people but I found it difficult to suppress my feelings of rejoicing.

George Bush said, soon after the events of September 11th 2001, "You're either with us or against us." Sorry George, on Guantanamo I'm certainly not with you. Five out and four to go....
Richard Buxton, Reading UK

Your programme is biased towards the detainees. Please remember these men were detained in a war zone. They should have been treated as prisoners of war but as in World War II they were captured as unlawful combatants as they were not in uniform. When the US decided they no longer needed to hold them they should have returned them to Afghanistan, not here. Those men chose this path and they should live with the consequences.

The Police and the Security Forces have a duty to protect us from Terrorism and it should be our duty to support them, not knock them. The lawyers have the pound signs in their eyes and I fear we won't hear the end of this.
Philip Hope, Dundee, Scotland

This only reveals that decisions are taken by people who cannot think clearly and are potential threat to mankind. Was it Mandela who said that? How right his view is. Bush and Blair should be sent to Guantanamo Bay. They have earned it.
Anis Mohiuddin, Calcutta, India

Out of Guantanamo
10 Mar 04 |  Panorama
Guantanamo Briton warned by dad
10 Mar 04 |  Panorama

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific