Britain's Own Guantanamo

Issue section: 

Ten minutes drive from Charlton Athletic's football stadium in south east London, ten prisoners languish in Belmarsh prison. They have not been charged with any crime, and they have no idea if they ever will be.

Some of them will reach 1,000 days of imprisonment this month, interned indefinitely under 'emergency' anti-terror legislation. Such is the government's war on civil liberties.

Muslims have been the primary victims of this campaign. Hysterical press scares around chemical attacks on the London Underground, Manchester United and ricin plots all proved groundless. But the police have used this ugly atmosphere to run riot. In December they raided Baber Ahmad's home, allegedly inflicting over 40 injuries and forcing him to prostrate himself as they asked, 'Where is your God now?' A seven-day interrogation resulted in no evidence, but last month he was rearrested and now faces extradition to the US.

With law lords now having ruled that 'evidence' obtained through torture should be admissible in court such legal manoeuvres could soon be unnecessary in the pursuit of Guantanamo-style 'justice'. Its echoes are already apparent at Paddington Green police station, where detainees have had their glasses removed so that they cannot read the Koran, and had their choice of solicitor disputed. Meanwhile four British citizens have been left to rot in Camp Delta.

The government's abuse of civil rights at home goes hand in hand with its brutal imperialism abroad. Our opposition must be equally integrated.