Ex-Guantanamo Man Moazzam Begg's Trial Date Set For October

Ex-Guantanamo Man Moazzam Begg's Trial Date Set For October

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg appeared today at London’s Old Bailey court, charged with providing terrorist training and funding terrorism in Syria.

The 45-year-old from Birmingham was arrested on February 25th and pleaded not guilty to the charges before him. 

Begg, who is the head of the ‘Cage’ or ‘CagePrisoners’ group, appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison in south-east London. He spoke only to confirm his name.

Mr Justice Sweeney today set Begg’s trial date at the Old Bailey for October 6th 2014, after a plea hearing on 18 July.

Begg spent three years at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before being released without charge in 2005.

Counter-terrorism expert Robin Simcox wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2012: 

In Guantanamo, Mr. Begg signed a confession that admitted that he was a jihadist recruiter, that he attended three al Qaeda terrorist-training camps in Afghanistan, and that he was armed and prepared to fight for the Taliban and al Qaeda against the U.S. He has since said this was coerced, which four U.S. government inquiries have rejected.

He appeared at the Old Bailey hearing alongside a 44-year-old woman, Gerrie Tahari, and her son Mouloud Tahari. They are also accused of facilitating terrorism in Syria.

Begg moved to Afghanistan with his wife and three children in 2001 but fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban after the September 11 attacks.

He was detained in Islamabad as an “enemy combatant” in February 2002 and taken to the Bagram prison in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo. 

Begg has previously repeatedly written for the left-wing newspaper the Guardian, and was even one of the subjects of an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the British Parliament, signed by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mike Hancock MP, former deputy speaker Nigel Evans MP, Chris Huhne, and Peter Bottomley MP. 

In 2010, Amnesty International’s Gita Saghal described Begg in a leaked e-mail as “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”.