The director of an Islamic human rights organisation has been stripped of his passport amid claims that he is involved in “terrorism”.
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Moazzam Begg was stopped at Heathrow Airport last week after returning from a visit to South Africa.
He was informed that it was “not in the public interest” for him to keep his passport as the Home Office suspected him of being involved in terrorist activities following his visit to Syria in 2012.
The decision came two days before Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were convicted. Mr Begg’s group, CagePrisoners, had previously been working with Adebolajo and his family.
Adebolajo had gone to CP’s East London headquarters last year for advice, complaining that he and his brother Jeremiah were being harassed by MI5.
On Friday night Mr Begg said he believed the Home Office was trying to discredit him after he gave evidence to an inquiry into Britain’s alleged complicity in rendition and torture – and that his passport seizure had nothing to do with the Woolwich murders.
He said: “I didn’t meet him (Adebolajo), it was other people at CagePrisoners who met him.
“I have consistently been asking for the intelligence and security services to be held to account for complicity in torture and rendition. It is more logical that is the reason I’ve had my passport confiscated.”
Mr Begg said that he gave evidence to Sir Peter Gibson, who last week concluded that British agents had turned a “blind eye” to the torture of detainees in foreign jails.
Mr Begg told The Mail on Sunday that he was stopped after returning from South Africa to commemorate the death of Nelson Mandela. He said he was pulled to one side by two plainclothes security officials who said that “having a passport was not a right and that they were using Royal Prerogative powers to take it away”.
A Home Office order given to Mr Begg stated that it was not in the public interest for him to have a passport as he had been assessed as being involved in terrorist activity because of his Syria visit.
But Mr Begg told The Mail on Sunday that he had visited Aleppo to investigate the rendition and torture of Syrian and other nationals, gathering evidence against the UK and America.
He added that the visit had been cleared by MI5, who thanked him for telling them about it and assured him that he would have no trouble visiting Syria.
The Home Office declined to comment on an individual case, but said the Royal Prerogative power “disrupts individuals who seek to travel on a British passport to engage in terrorism-related or other serious criminal activity abroad which impacts on the UK”.