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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 15:16 GMT
Terror suspect's father appeals to Bush
Azmat Begg and Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave said she was 'disturbed' by the situation

The father of a British terrorist suspect held by the US military in Guantanamo Bay has made a personal appeal to President George Bush for his son to be tried in Britain.

Azmat Begg has already written to the American president - who arrives in the UK on Tuesday - asking for his son, Moazzam, to be released from the Cuban military base and tried in Britain.

The 35-year-old, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, and Feroz Abbasi, from Croydon, are among the first prisoners selected to face secret US military tribunals following their capture on suspicion of involvement with al Qaida.

Mr Azmat Begg was joined by actress and human rights activist Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Corbyn MP and human rights lawyer Louise Christian in delivering a letter to the US President and Tony Blair at Downing Street.

Azmat Begg
I want my son to be allowed to come home to this country, his own country
Azmat Begg

The retired bank manager said: "Please help me if you can, I don't have any other to ask for help except God and you.

He added: "I'm not asking for any favours from Mr Bush or Mr Blair. I'm asking for justice, plain justice.

"I want my son to be allowed to come home to this country, his own country.

"If he has done something wrong, something serious, he should be punished. All I want is the chance for Moazzam to have a fair trial."

As he described the conditions his son is living in he broke down in tears.

"He wrote to me and said: 'They don't give me water. I'm in a cage like an animal. I don't know why I'm here, please help me if you can.'

"The letter made me very, very unhappy. For nights and nights I couldn't sleep."

But earlier he admitted on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was not optimistic any progress would be made this week having received no response to his letters from either Mr Bush or Tony Blair.

"In a casual way Mr Tony Blair said 'I'll take it up' but not seriously or not in any letter to me or any information to me," he said.

"The way they have acted previously, it doesn't bring me a lot of hope."

Moazzam Begg, a father-of-four, was arrested in the Pakistani capital Islamabad in February 2002.

He and Mr Abbasi are among nine Britons held by the US Government in Cuba.




SEE ALSO:
Massive security for Bush visit
18 Nov 03  |  Politics


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