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Guest Speaker – Moazzam Begg
Thursday 12 April 6.30pm
Red Lion Square
(nearest tube Holborn)
Afzal Guru is a Kashmiri currently detained in India’s notorious Tihar jail and facing a death sentence. He is accused of involvement in the attack on the Indian Parliament five years ago.
He faces hanging although:
• There is no direct evidence against him and he is known not to have injured or harmed anyone
• The Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused
• Afzal Guru was denied an opportunity to defend himself – he did not even have a lawyer
Moazzam Begg is one of nine Britons detained at Guantanamo – imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and whose precise nature has never been determined. He is the author of ‘Enemy Combatant – a British Muslim’s journey to Guantanamo and back’.
‘Patriotism in the time of terror – Framing Geelani, Hanging Afzal’ Bibliophile (2007) examines the cases of those accused of the attack on the Indian Parliament. The author, Nandita Haksar, is a well-known human rights lawyer and activist now representing Afzal.
The attack on the Indian parliament
The Indian parliament was attacked by five men on December 13 2001. They were killed by the security forces, but even today their identity remains a mystery. Three other men, who according to the police masterminded the attack, have also not been found.
However, on 14 and 15 December 2001, the investigating agencies together with the Special Cell of the Delhi Police picked up four persons, all Kashmiris, and charged them with the offence of conspiring to attack the parliament under India’s notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).
After a nationwide campaign for a fair trial, two of them, Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani and Navjot Sandhu, who was jailed along with her newborn baby, have been acquitted of all charges, a third, the husband of Navjot Sandhu, has had his death sentence converted to ten years in prison. But the fourth, Afzal Guru, was due to be hanged on October 20, 2006. A stay on his execution has been obtained by the Save Afzal Campaign through a Mercy Petition to the President of India. But he is still facing a death sentence.
Torture and Forced Confession
In the Special Cell of the Delhi police Afzal was kept naked for two days and beaten mercilessly – once by a man who later appeared as a prosecution witness; police officers urinated in his mouth saying ‘This is the way you can break your Roza(fast)’. After he was tortured he was handcuffed and made to sit on a chair and forced to ‘confess’ at a media conference. But television broadcasts did not show the handcuffs and did not show the men who tortured and humiliated him.
For details about how he was treated by security forces in Kashmir before he came to Delhi see his wife Tabassum’s letter: http://justiceforafzalguru.org/background/tabassum.html
Since October last year Afzal has been waiting for the results of a Mercy Petition. Even after enormous efforts by his campaign he is being denied basic rights in prison – he is not allowed to go out of doors for even half an hour of sunlight and the Red Cross who have access to Kashmiri prisoners have not been allowed to visit him.
SAVE AFZAL GURU!
SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT: http://www.petitiononline.com/CMAG/petition.html
Organised by South Asia Solidarity Group firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 0781 498 3105
Supported by Campaign Against Criminalising Communities