By Sarah Lagan
The Argus has launched a campaign to get justice for a Brighton man
detained at Guantanamo Bay whose case has been described by a human
rights lawyer as the “worst in Britain”.
Omar Deghayes, a 36-year-old law graduate, has been held in solitary
confinement for three years at the detention centre without trial and
is said to be close to death as he is on a hunger strike along with 200
According to human rights lawyer Clive
Stafford-Smith, Deghayes has been blinded in one eye by guards, beaten,
sexually abused, mentally tortured and had his religion abused.
Stafford-Smith, who represents more than 40 of the inmates, said Deghayes’ case
is the worst miscarriage of justice he has seen in 20 years and he
believes it will become known as the worst in British history.
Brighton daily paper has delivered a dossier with statements from MPs,
200 campaign coupons and 200 letters of support as well as newspaper
coverage of the campaign to home secretary Charles Clarke. The Argus is
demanding that the British Government puts pressure on the US to either
put him on trial or let him go.
Argus reporter Miriam Wells, who launched the campaign with
colleague Andy Tate, said: “Guantanamo Bay is such an affront to human
rights that people of all political persuasions, religious beliefs and
backgrounds are appalled by it.
“When we learnt of the hunger strike we felt the situation was getting so desperate that The Argus had to make a stand.
“We’re determined to keep plugging away at Mr Clarke until he takes action.”
Deghayes and his family fled Libya in the 1980s after their father was murdered by Colonel Gadaffi’s regime. They then gained asylum in the UK.
2001 he worked in Afghanistan, but after 9/11 he fled the country. He
was captured by bounty-hunters in Pakistan and sold to the Americans.
He has been in Guantanamo ever since without any charge having been
made against him.
Stafford-Smith says the only evidence against
him is a video supposedly linking him to the Madrid bombings, but he
was already in Guantanamo when the bombings occurred and various facial
recognition experts have agreed the person in the video is not Deghayes.