UK & World News

  • 25 February 2014, 23:38

Ex-Guantanamo Inmate Held Over 'Syria Terror'

Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg is one of four people who have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to the Syria conflict.

Police confirmed the 45-year-old was among three men and a woman from the West Midlands held on Tuesday morning.

Mr Begg, a British citizen, is suspected of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.

A 36-year-old man, a woman aged 44 and her 20-year-old son were also held on suspicion of facilitating terrorism overseas.

Vehicles and electronic equipment were being removed from the suspects' homes in Hall Green, Shirley and Sparkhill.

Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) were carrying out searches at the three addresses.

The four suspects are being held at a police station in the West Midlands area.

A 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 Mr Begg does "not imply any guilt".

Earlier, Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards from the West Midlands CTU said: "All four arrests are connected.

"They were pre-planned and intelligence led. There was no immediate risk to public safety."

Mr Begg was held by the US government at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba for nearly three years after being arrested in Pakistan in February 2002.

He was detained on suspicion of being a member of al Qaeda before being released without charge in January 2005.

He was allowed to return to the UK where he was arrested by police before being released without charge.

Mr Begg is now a director of Cage - which campaigns "against the War on Terror" - and has always maintained that he has never been involved in any kind of terrorist activity.

The arrests come after unrelated video and pictures emerged earlier this month of a man suspected of being Britain's first suicide bomber in Syria.

Adbul Waheed Majeed allegedly drove a truck into a jail in Aleppo and detonated a bomb on February 6.

The family of the 41-year-old, from Crawley, West Sussex, said they believed he was in Syria for humanitarian purposes.

He is among an estimated 20 Britons who are thought to have been killed in the Syrian conflict.

Ministers have reportedly been told around 250 of 400 British-based extremists who went to Syria to train and fight have returned to the UK.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has said the security threat posed by these individuals is a "big problem" for MI5 and the police.

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