| LONDON, March 23
LONDON, March 23 U.S. government lawyers tried
to get a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay to sign a deal
saying he had never been tortured and that he would not speak to
the media as a condition of his release, according to documents
presented in Britain's High Court.
U.S. lawyers also wanted Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian
citizen held at Guantanamo for more than 4 years, to plead
guilty to secure his freedom, even though he was never charged
with a crime, according to documents released by two judges who
ruled in the High Court case.
The documents, relating to a ruling the judges made last
October, reveal the U.S. military wanted Mohamed to agree not to
sue the United States or any of its allies, and that any rights
to compensation should be assigned to the U.S. government.
"The accused agrees not to participate in or support in any
manner any litigation or challenge, in any forum, against the
United States or any other nation or any official of any nation,
whether military or civilian..." a draft plea agreement put
forward by U.S. government lawyers in 2008 stated.
"The accused assigns to the United States all legal rights
to sign and submit any necessary documents, motions or pleadings
to implement this provision on behalf of the accused," a key
clause in the agreement read.
The proposed agreement was contained in documents brought
before the High Court in October, when the court ruled that
documents relating to Mohamed's case could not be released
because it might jeopardise national security agreements between
Britain and the United States.
Mohamed's lawyers rejected the agreement and Mohamed was
eventually released last month with almost no conditions.
The British government is understood to have opposed the
conditions and helped fight them until they were dropped.
"The facts revealed today reflect the way the U.S.
government has consistently tried to cover up the truth of
Binyam Mohamed's torture," said Clive Stafford-Smith, a lawyer
for Mohamed and director of the human rights charity Reprieve.
"Gradually the truth is leaking out, and the governments on
both sides of the Atlantic should pause to consider whether they
should continue to fight to keep this torture evidence secret."
"TORTURE AND ABUSE"
A converted Muslim, Mohamed, 30, was a British resident when
he travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in mid-2001, a trip he
says he undertook to overcome a drug addiction.
His detention began in April 2002 when he was seized trying
to leave Pakistan on a false passport. He says he was tortured
while in custody there, with the knowledge of British
intelligence officers, before being flown to Morocco on a CIA
He was held in Morocco for nearly two years, during which
time he says he was further tortured and abused, including being
asked questions he says could only have been supplied by British
intelligence officers. Britain denies involvement in torture.
He was subsequently flown to Afghanistan, where he was held
by the Americans and, he says, subjected to more torture and
abuse, before being taken to Guantanamo Bay in Sept. 2004.
During his 6-1/2 years in detention Mohamed says he was
subjected to "waterboarding", or simulated drowning, and had his
genitals cut with a scalpel. The United States denies torture.
After his seizure, Mohamed was accused of receiving training
at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the United
States linked him to a "dirty bomb" plot. But charges against
him were dropped and he was freed on Feb. 23, 2009.
Since his return to Britain, Mohamed has spoken to media and
repeated his accusations. While he is now free, Mohamed has
agreed to some conditions, including a commitment never to
travel to the United States. He has not yet decided whether to
sue U.S. or British authorities.
(editing by Kate Kelland and Ralph Boulton)