Daily Archives: February 21, 2006


Outrage grows over Police harrassment of “Road to Guantanamo” actors

From BBC News

See also: “She asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guant’namo'”

…Actor Farhad Harun was also questioned, along with Shafiq Rusul and Rhuhel Ahmed, the men whose detention in Guantanamo is chronicled in the film.

Mr Ahmed also alleges that he was verbally abused by a police officer and had his mobile phone taken from him for a short period.

The actor also claims that he was told by police that he could be held for up to 48 hours without access to a lawyer.

He says he was initially questioned at the airport’s baggage pick-up area and taken to a separate room when he demanded to know why.

Human rights organisation Reprieve, who Mr Ahmed has asked to speak on his behalf, called Thursday’s incident an “ugly farce”.

They have called for an urgent inquiry into what happened while one of the film’s producers, Melissa Parmenter, said the detention was outrageous.

Bedfordshire police have said they will issue another statement specifically concerning the allegations made by Mr Ahmed and Reprieve…

If you are concerned about this latest abuse of “anti-terror” powers, you can fax your MP for free at www.writetothem.com

Update from the BBC: Guantanamo duo ‘held’ at airport

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Straw faces a torturous spell in the witness box

From The Independent

Twenty-five years after he hung up his barrister’s wig, Jack Straw faces the unwelcome prospect of returning to court. Craig Murray, our former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, intends to call the Foreign Secretary to give evidence in any legal action over his forthcoming memoirs.

This month, Straw’s staff wrote to Murray – who was sacked for blowing the whistle on human rights abuses – saying they’d “actively consider a claim for breach of confidence or Crown copyright” over his book, Murder in Samarkand.

Despite that threat, Murray’s publishers, Mainstream, tell me they “intend to proceed” with the memoir, which will hit the shelves in July.

Meanwhile, Murray has used an interview with The Bookseller to launch a personal offensive against Straw, saying he has “proof that the Government has been obtaining intelligence from torture, and that Jack Straw approved it.”

He’s also happy to take the matter to court, adding: “The Government is seeking to undermine freedom of speech … If they want to send me to prison, I am prepared.”

The Foreign Office letter to Murray was drafted by legal advisors, who are anxious to avoid a hoo-hah similar to that inspired by the publication of Sir Christopher Meyer’s memoir DC Confidential.

However, Straw’s direct involvement makes it hard for them to keep him away from any trial. With this in mind, an FO spokesman stressed that they’ve yet to decide “how to take this forward.”

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“She asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guant’namo'”

See also: UK police arrest stars of award-winning film “The Road to Guantanamo” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

See also: The Lip Magazine – Full statement from actor Riz Ahmed

From The Guardian

Four actors who play al-Qaida suspects in a British movie that won a prestigious prize were detained by the police at Luton airport as they returned from the Berlin Film Festival and questioned under anti-terror laws, alongside two of the former terrorism suspects they play on screen.

They were returning last Thursday after the premiere of the film, The Road to Guant’namo. It depicts the life of three men from Tipton in the West Midlands, who go to Afghanistan and end up being held for two years by the US at its military base on Cuba before being released without charge.

The film, directed by Michael Winterbottom, won the Silver Bear award for direction at Berlin on Sunday. Released in Britain next month, it depicts the alleged shackling, torture and other ill treatment the Tipton detainees claim they suffered at the hands of the Americans.

The film’s producers say four actors from the film, who all play terrorism suspects, were detained at Luton airport after flying back from Germany on an easyJet flight. They included Rizwan Ahmed and Farhad Harun, who were stopped along with Shafiq Rasul and Rhuhel Ahmed, the former Guant’namo inmates they play on screen.

In a statement, Rizwan Ahmed said police swore at him and asked if he had become an actor to further the Islamic cause. He said he was at first denied access to a lawyer and was questioned about his views on the Iraq war by a policewoman. “She asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guant’namo. She asked ‘Did you become an actor mainly to do films like this, to publicise the struggles of Muslims?'”

Mr Ahmed alleged that he had a telephone wrestled from his hand as he tried to contact a lawyer and was later abused. He claimed that one police officer had called him a “fucker”.

Melissa Parmenter, co-producer of the film, described the detention and questioning as outrageous.

A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire police, which patrols Luton airport, said that none of the six men had been arrested. “The police officers wanted to ask them some questions under the counter-terrorism act,” she said. “All were released within the hour. Part of the counter-terrorism act allows us to stop and examine people if something happens that might be suspicious.”

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