A terrorist detainee released from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center who claims to now be a human rights activist was arraigned in a London criminal courtroom on Saturday on charges that he has been promoting jihad in Syria, according to officials at Scotland Yard.
Moazzam Begg, who has lived in Britain since his 2005 release from Gitmo, is described by his supporters as a strong advocate for terrorist suspects’ rights.
He was born a citizen of the United Kingdom but left with his family to live in Afghanistan in 2001, and then they moved to Pakistan in 2002 when the United States attacked al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
The 45-year old Islamist was arrested along with three other terrorism suspects in the British city of Birmingham. Gerrie Tahari, 44, appeared with Begg in front of a judge on Saturday and pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting terrorist operations, according to British news media.
Begg and Tahari were denied bail and ordered to be detained until their court appearances scheduled for March 14, 2014.
Detectives are said to be interrogating the two other terrorism suspects one of whom is believed to be Tahari’s son, according to BBC.
Moazzam Begg was first arrested in Pakistan in 2002 as an “enemy combatant.” He was held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and sent a year later to the U.S.-run detention center on the Marine base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Begg was released three years later with his attorney’s help. When he returned to the U.K., he headed a group called Cage which is similar to CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) which is based in the United States.
Cage officials stated that the charges against Begg are an excuse to close down his organization and stifle his pursuit of Muslim rights.
“Today, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg stood in front of Westminster Magistrates Court after being charged with terrorism offences. Whatever the outcome on March 14th, it is clear that the left-wing British establishment have tied themselves to a highly contentious figure, and one that they should all perhaps have steered clear of,” said Raheem Kassam, Breitbart’s Middle East correspondent.