The view that the British government should have done more to secure the release of Alan Henning is today compounded by revelations from CAGE that the government squandered an opportunity to secure his release when they arrested Moazzam Begg and targeted advocacy organisation CAGE earlier this year.
(London) The view that the British government should have done more to secure the release of Alan Henning is today compounded by revelations from CAGE that the government squandered an opportunity to secure his release when they arrested Moazzam Begg and targeted advocacy organisation CAGE earlier this year. Moazzam Begg speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme revealed for the first time the extent to which CAGE had been at the centre of efforts to secure the release of the aid worker.
CAGE Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg, said:
"The government has known that I have been trying to secure Alan Henning's release since January, yet they didn't take up my offer of help until last month when news of Alan Henning became public knowledge."
"By needlessly imprisoning me and ignoring my requests for help, the government arguably threw away the best possible chance of getting this man released."
CAGE Director, Dr Adnan Siddiqui, said:
1. Our thoughts are with the family of Alan Henning
"We have been profoundly saddened to hear of the unjustified execution of humanitarian worker Alan Henning who went with a Muslim charity to help those afflicted by the war in Syria. We offer our deepest condolences and support to his family and count ourselves as his friends."
2. Begg's politically motivated arrest was a squandered opportunity to secure Henning's release
"CAGE, represented by Moazzam Begg approached the FCO to inform them that it was prepared to get involved in high level negotiations with Alan Henning's captors to secure his release up to a week before Moazzam Begg´s arrest. One can only speculate that Alan may have been free if Moazzam had not been incarcerated for 7 months and was able to continue his work in Syria."
"IS were his executioners but the UK government needs to be open and transparent about its role in Alan Henning's death as it has directly obstructed some of the avenues that could have secured his release including the politically motivated removal of Moazzam Begg's passport and the freezing of his personal accounts and those of CAGE."
3. The UK government must take responsibility for its negligence in abandoning Alan
"We cannot get Alan Henning back but we owe it to his family and friends to get to the truth of the government's role – or lack thereof – in securing his release and why Moazzam Begg, who perhaps could have secured his release, was arrested in the first place. Many Muslims have made an effort to disassociate themselves from IS´ actions to alleviate their collective demonisation, but it is time for wider society to ask the government about its efforts to release Alan Henning."
CAGE have now published more details on this development, see here.
1. CAGE is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process. At the heart of its work is a belief that dialogue, conflict resolution and respect for the rule of law are essential for a just society.
2. More information on this can be read here: https://cage.ngo/article/cage-vindicated-dropped-charges-against-outreach-director-moazzam-begg
3. More details of the concerted campaign to disrupt CAGE’s activities can be found here: http://cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage and here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100279865/if-cage-has-broken-the-law-let-it-be-prosecuted-this-reeks-of-the-police-state/ and here: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/06/cage-complaint-bank-accounts-closed
4. CAGE spokespeople will be available for interview today
Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)