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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Camp X-Ray Briton in new legal fight
Zumrati Juma with Riasoth Ahmed, father of Rhuhel Ahmed, another British detainee at Guantanamo
Zumrati Juma says she is frightened for her son
The mother of a British al-Qaeda suspect held by the US in Cuba says the UK authorities are not doing enough to help her son.

Zumrati Juma's comments came as the Court of Appeal granted lawyers for 22-year-old Feroz Abbasi a full hearing into claims that the British Government is not protecting his rights.

Mr Abbasi has been imprisoned at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay since January.

Feroz Abbasi wrote to his mother
Feroz Abbasi: Detained in Guantanamo Bay for six months so far

Ms Juma told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she was worried for her son's psychological health, and frustrated at the lack of information she was receiving about his case.

"When I request more information from the Foreign Office I don't get any information at all, apart from saying 'it is up to the Americans, we are waiting for the Americans' decision'," she said.

On Monday, lawyers for Mr Abbasi, of Croydon, south London, overturned a High Court decision in March not to get involved.

At the time, the judge said British courts did not have the power to hear the case.

'Baffled'

No date has yet been set for the full hearing.

Mr Abbasi and five other Britons held at the Cuban base have been denied legal representation and have not been formally charged or told how they will be tried.

Ms Juma said she was sceptical of US claims that her son was dangerous, and baffled as to why he had been neither charged nor released after six months.


I'm sure he is being affected psychologically - Feroz is a very young boy

Zumrati Juma, Feroz Abbasi's mother

"If he's dangerous, why haven't they charged him yet? It's outrageous that they're holding these boys and just claiming they're dangerous, and they haven't charged them with anything.

"It seems like they're just keeping them there, detaining them there with no charge at all and not letting us know what's happening."

A Foreign Office spokesman told reporters on Friday: "The United States has assured us that the detainees are being treated humanely and in accordance with the principles of the Geneva Convention... We have found the detainees to be well looked after."

'Foreign policy'

But Ms Juma said she was worried her son would not be able to stand up for himself under either US or MI5 interrogation, without the aid of a lawyer.

"I'm sure he is being affected psychologically. Feroz is a very young boy, he has not been in this sort of situation before.


If he's dangerous, why haven't they charged him yet?

Zumrati Juma
"I'm sure they will use all the tactics they have to get whatever information they want for him, and force it out of him - I don't know.

"I don't think Feroz is capable of handling himself without legal representation when they are interviewing him."

In March, the High Court said the judicial process was not suited for the area of international relations and foreign policy.

Louise Christian, part of Ms Juma's legal team, said the government's obligation to protect its citizens' rights "is not a duty which exists just when they are on British soil and it is not a matter of foreign policy".

A total of 564 terror suspects are now being held at the Cuban base. Most of them were captured by US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Key stories

European probe

Background

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See also:

24 Feb 02 | Americas
21 Jan 02 | UK Politics
13 Jun 02 | UK Politics
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