#1Feb 25th, 2014
Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg, who was lauded by the left wing media, such as the BBC, The Guardian and the Independent as a poor, little, innocent victim of the Americans after his release without charge, has been arrested over Syria-related terror offences.
The 45 year old British citizen was arrested in the Hall Green area of Birmingham during a series of terror arrests by West Midlands Police across the UK's second city.
In recent years Begg has campaigned for those he claims are unfairly targeted by the war on terror and is director of the human rights group Cageprisoners.
But he was arrested today on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.
A 36-year-old man, from the Shirley area of Birmingham, and a 44-year-old woman and her 20-year-old son, both from the city’s Sparkhill area, were also arrested on suspicion of facilitating terrorism overseas, and the four arrests are linked.
Former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg among four arrested as homes are searched in Birmingham over Syria terror offences
Moazzam Begg was held at Guantanamo Bay for two years before release
He has been campaigning for those who are 'unfairly targeted' by the war on terror in recent years and is director of Cageprisoners
Police say Begg was arrested but add naming him 'does not imply any guilt'
A man aged 45, a 44-year-old woman and her son, 20, were also held today
Officers say the early morning raids were 'pre-planned and intelligence led'
By Rob Cooper
25 February 2014
25 February 2014
Arrest: Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, 45, was one of four people held in Syria-related terrorism raids across Birmingham today
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg is one of four people arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences today.
Begg, 45, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Police today as they carried out a series of early morning raids across Birmingham.
The British citizen has previously been held in Guantanamo by the US before being released without charge.
In recent years he has campaigned for those he claims are unfairly targeted by the war on terror and is director of the human rights group Cageprisoners.
He was arrested today on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.
Begg was detained at Guantanamo Bay in February 2003 before being released by former US President George Bush in January 2005.
A 36-year-old man, from the Shirley area of Birmingham, and a 44-year-old woman and her 20-year-old son, both from the city’s Sparkhill area, were also arrested on suspicion of facilitating terrorism overseas.
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: 'We can confirm that Moazzam Begg was arrested this morning.
'We are confirming this name as a result of the anticipated high public interest to accredited media.'
She added naming Begg does 'not imply any guilt'.
All four suspects were being held at a police station in the West Midlands and their three home addresses are being searched by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.
The offences are all Syria-related, the spokeswoman added.
Officers said they were now in the process of removing vehicles and electronic equipment for forensic analysis.
Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, head of investigations for the regional counter terrorism unit, said: 'All four arrests are connected.
Scene: A forensics tent is put up outside Mozzam Begg's property in Birmingham today after he was arrested on suspicion of terror offences
Probe: A police forensics van is seen outside Moazzam Begg's home in Birmingham today as it is searched by officers
Seized: An officer carries a bag out of the property in Birmingham today after Begg was arrested
'They were pre-planned and intelligence-led. There was no immediate risk to public safety.
'We continue to urge anyone planning to travel to Syria to read the advice issued by the Foreign Office.'
Originally from Birmingham, Begg moved to Afghanistan with his family in 2001 before taking them to Pakistan in 2002 when the war began.
He was detained in Islamabad, Pakistan, as an 'enemy combatant' in January 2002 and was taken to the Bagram internment centre for about a year before being transferred to Guantanamo.
The British citizen was released along with three others in January 2005 and was allowed to return to the UK where he was arrested by the police before being released without charge.
Begg, now a director of campaign group Cage, has always maintained that he was only involved in charity business and that he has never been involved in any kind of terrorist activity.
The latest arrests today come after it was revealed about 400 British-based extremists have gone to Syria over the last two years - and just over half have returned to the UK.
In recent weeks, ministers have been told that about 250 Britons who went to train and fight in war-torn Syria are now back in the UK - with the conflict described by one top domestic security official as a 'magnet' for jihadi activity.
In January alone, there were 16 people detained on suspicion of terror offences relating to Syria in comparison to 24 arrests for the whole of last year.
Arrested: Moazzam Begg, seen at an Amnesty International press conference in 2010, was arrested by West Midlands Police officers today
Arrests: West Midlands Police said they arrested 45-year-old Moazzam Begg in Hall Green, Birmingham. A 36-year-old man from Shirley was arrested, plus a woman aged 44 and her son aged 20 from Sparkhill were also held. Their three addresses are being searched by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit
At the time, a senior Whitehall source said the Syrian threat was 'serious' and presented 'real challenges for intelligence agencies'.
The Birmingham arrests follow reports of what is thought to be the first instance of a British-based jihadist staging a suicide attack on a Syrian government prison in the country.
Abdul Waheed Majeed, 41, is suspected of being responsible for driving a lorry into a jail in Aleppo and detonating a bomb earlier this month.
He is among an estimated 20 Britons who have been killed in the fighting in the war-torn state.
Plea: Moazzam Begg, who is now a human rights campaigner, is seen on the BBC appealing for the release of Norman Kember, a British man who was held hostage in Iraq. Mr Kember was rescued by British Special Forces in 2006
Father: Mozzam Begg seen here with three of his children in this family photo released in 2004 while he was being detained at Guantanamo
In January, photographs were published of two British brothers from north London believed to have died in battle in the war-torn country in September who were reportedly hailed as 'martyrs' and 'young British lions' by Syrian rebels.
A patchwork of rebel groups, counting extremist jihadist fighters among their ranks, have been engaged in an intractable and bloody conflict against the government of Bashar al-Assad, which has claimed at least 100,000 lives, since 2011.
Meanwhile in the UK, two women appeared in court last month accused of trying to send £16,500 to fund alleged Islamic terrorists fighting in Syria.
Londoners Nabal Masaad, 26, and Amal El-Wahabi, 27, are due to appear at the Old Bailey in May.
Security officials and senior politicians have been warning for months of the potential surge in radicalised foreign fighters returning to the UK from war-torn Syria.
MI5 director-general Andrew Parker told MPs last year that the civil war in Syria has been a magnet for hundreds of British nationals looking for the opportunity for 'jihadi' activity, many of whom have come into contact with al Qaida-supporting groups before returning to the UK.
Home Office minister James Brokenshire recently said the issue now formed a significant and growing area of focus for the British security services and warned concerns over terror-related and jihadi activity linked to Syria were 'likely to be with us for the foreseeable future'.
Read more: Former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg among 4 arrested in Birmingham over Syria terror offences | Mail Online
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 25th, 2014 at 08:41 AM..