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“You Are Worth Less Than An Iguana!”

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How can we accept a world where an iguana has more rights than human beings? Listen to Moazzam Begg speak about the initial stages of when he was imprisoned as he takes you through a journey of the trauma he experienced.

[As part of the MuslimMatters x CAGE Dhul Hijjah Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo, we bring you a series, Guantanamo Memories, of stories from behind bars.]

The first thing I was told when I was taken in US custody in Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan was: “You are the property of the United States and you have no rights.” I quickly understood that they meant business.

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I found myself forcefully shaven, spat at, stripped naked with a knife, hooded and hung from the ceiling by my wrists…I was beaten, threatened, and made to believe that the screams I could hear from the room next to me were the sounds of my wife and kids being tortured. I had no way out. Because I was not accused of a crime, I could not clear my name. The Americans made it clear the Geneva conventions didn’t apply to us. US law didn’t apply to us. No law applied to us.

I literally had no rights.

But there’s one thing I learnt when I arrived at Guantanamo: All soldiers, interrogators, or anyone coming to the island prison is briefed: “It is illegal to harm, kill or eat an iguana.”

Unlike us, iguanas were protected under a law called the Endangered Species Act. Breaching this law could result in imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.

By the grace of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), I was released after three years of ordeal.

But how can I – how can we – accept a world where an iguana has more rights than a human being? In a sense though, we already have. 779 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo since 2002. Forty of them are still there.

 

 

Don’t forget to join MuslimMatters and CAGE this month as we work to Close Guantanamo. Check out how you can act today

Related Reading:

 – Dhul Hijjah Global Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo

Dhul Hijjah Global Activism Drive: Close Guantanamo

I Saw Him Murdered Saying “Ya Allah!”

I Saw Him Murdered Saying “Ya Allah!”

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

CAGE advocates for due process, the rule of law and an end to the injustices of the War on Terror. CAGE is an independent grassroots organisation striving for a world free of injustice and oppression. We campaign against discriminatory state policies and advocate for due process and the rule of law. We work closely with survivors of abuse and mistreatment across the globe, documenting their abuse and enabling them to take action and access due process. We carry out cutting edge research and provide a voice for survivors of the war on terror, challenging the dominant narrative of suspect communities and the perceived threat of terrorism. We empower communities through educational workshops, community events and informative seminars.

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