Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Reaction to Guantanamo detainee's return

Binyam Mohamed
A British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years has arrived back in the UK.

Binyam Mohamed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, alleges that he was tortured while being held as a terrorist suspect.

Mr Mohamed, born in Ethiopa, came to the UK seeking asylum when he was 15.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND

I'm pleased that Binyam Mohamed is coming back to the United Kingdom.

His release and return from Guantanamo Bay is the result of a number of years of very hard work by officials with him and with his team.

Obviously the release of Binyam Mohamed is the first release from Guantanamo Bay since the election of President (Barack) Obama.

We very much welcome President Obama's commitment to close Guantanamo Bay and I see today's return of Binyam Mohamed as the first step towards that shared goal.

SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE
In so far as it's part of the closure of Guantanamo Bay, then this of course is a welcome development.


And that he's been released ahead of the other detainees there - the Foreign Office have worked hard and correctly on that.

There are, of course, important questions now about his status in the United Kingdom and whether he is a security risk or not.

But the most important thing is now to take this opportunity to get things clear for the future - to make sure that relevant material can be put into the public domain, and that the guidance has been issued to all officials to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen again.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN ED DAVEY
Now that Binyam Mohamed has landed in Britain, the government is out of excuses for delaying a full inquiry into its involvement in his alleged torture.


If the government whitewashes these allegations, Britain will face international disgrace.

He added that the latest Human Rights Watch report on torture suggested that 'Mohamed's case may just be the tip of the iceberg'.

It is telling that David Miliband is unable to give a straightforward yes or no as to whether British agents and officials have been complicit in torture.

US ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER

The friendship and assistance of the international community is vitally important as we work to close Guantanamo, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of the British government to work with us on the transfer of Binyam Mohamed.

FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEE, MOAZZAM BEGG

I think it's important to recognise that, not just Binyam, but also the former Guantanamo detainees who were British citizens have a case against the British government for the illegal detention and complicity in that for false imprisonment, and for the torture that took place of British citizens with the knowledge of the British intelligence services so as I say, watch this space. This case will become bigger as more is brought to light.

MR MOHAMED'S SISTER, ZUHRA

I am so glad and so happy, more than words can express. I am so thankful for everything that was done for Binyam to make this day come true.

MR MOHAMED'S BROTHER, BENHUR

I'm very happy, I'm so excited today. It's the best day of my life, but it's very disheartening to know the British had something to do with his suffering.

REPRIEVE DIRECTOR CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH

He is a victim who has suffered more than any human being should ever suffer. He just wants to go somewhere very quiet and try to recover. Every moment that he is held compounds the abuse he has endured.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL UK DIRECTOR KATE ALLEN
It is absolutely essential now that there be an independent inquiry into the role of the UK in secret detention and rendition and the travesty of justice that has taken place at Guantanamo in terms of Binyam Mohamed. The Home Secretary has referred papers to the Attorney General, and the Intelligence and Security Committee will be looking into this, -- neither of those are independent.


LONDON GUANTANAMO CAMPAIGN'S CHRISTINE MACLEOD

Binyam Mohamed's story exemplifies the very worst of the atrocities committed by the US administration in response to the attacks of 9/11. President Obama must now make every effort to bring an end to these illegal, inhumane practices, by applying the rule of law to all, regardless of nationality, religion or perceived wrongdoing.

RAMADHAN FOUNDATION'S MOHAMMED SHAFIQ,

Whilst we thank the British government for their work in getting him released we are still disturbed by the serious allegations of collusion in the torture that Binyam was subjected to under US government detention.

There is now an urgent need for a full and open public inquiry into the allegations and the circumstances of British involvement. There can be no acceptance of torture as underlined by the Geneva Convention.


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