By Mick Krever & Juliet Fuisz, CNN
Moazzam Begg was taken from his home in the middle of the night.
He would not see freedom for more than three years. His captor was the United States Government. He was taken from his home in Pakistan to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan; soon, he found himself thousands of miles away, at Guantanamo Bay Prison in the Caribbean Sea.
The Americans accused Begg, who is a dual Pakistani-British citizen, with aiding the Taliban and al Qaeda. He denied the charges, and was never formally charged or prosecuted.
He spent three years at Guantanamo – two in solitary confinement – before the British government successfully lobbied for his release.
“My father, he did a very high-profile campaign,” Begg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “He said, ‘Please either charge my son or release him if he’s not committed a crime. … Apply the rule of law, because you’ve claimed that your country is one that establishes it, and boasts this as a civilization factor for the rest of the world.’”
Now, as over a hundred detainees at Guantanamo enter their fourth month of a hunger strike, many of them cleared for release, Begg is stepping up his campaign to make the world aware of their continued imprisonment.
“The first time that Obama said that he’s going to close Guantanamo, everybody believed him,” Begg said. “So when I go around the world and campaign and fight for the rights of the prisoners, people say, ‘Oh, isn’t that place closed?’”
Begg hopes the world will, once again, pay attention.
“The only way that they can get their voice across, as it were, is to hunger strike to point of death,” Begg said.
Being held in solitary confinement at Guantanamo – as Begg was, and many detainees now are – fosters a special kind of hopelessness, Begg said.
“It means that you don’t know what you’re there for,” he said, “or if you’re even going to see the inside of courtroom, or the face of your accuser, or have the notion of ever being released in a sane sort of way.”
Thanks to the efforts of his father, and his government, Begg was released.
He has done something that seems rather unimaginably, given his experience. He has befriended many of his former captors.
“I came across several soldiers,” Begg said, “who were really decent. Who treated me in a way, and many other prisoners in a way that earned for them the respect that we still have to this day.”
He is Facebook friends with them, he has travelled with them – he has even had them over to his house, to eat with his wife and children.
"The question I would ask though for a lot of Americans viewers,” he said, “is would American viewers reciprocate this? Would they invite former Guantanamo prisoners and others to the United States in order to be welcome in their homes? Or are we only welcome in prisons, where we’re tortured.”