US tried to gag Binyam Mohamed with plea bargain
US authorities tried to gag Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee, by offering him a plea bargain under which he would gain his freedom in return for dropping torture allegations.
By Nick Allen
Last Updated: 7:38PM GMT 23 Mar 2009
The deal would have prevented Mr Mohamed suing the US, or Britain, over his alleged ill-treatment and he would have been prevented from revealing his allegations publicly to the media.
Mr Mohamed, an Ethiopian national, refused the deal and was eventually allowed to return to his adoptive country Britain last month.
Documents released by the High Court in London showed the draft plea bargain agreement was put forward last year by US government lawyers and required Mr Mohamed to plead guilty to two charges in return for a lighter sentence.
The maximum period of imprisonment would have been 10 years but any sentence over one year would have been suspended, meaning he would be freed quickly.
Mr Mohamed would have had to agree not to take part in any legal challenge relating to his "capture, detention or prosecution" against the US, or any of its allies, and any rights to compensation would be assigned to the US government.
He would also have been required to abandon a legal attempt to obtain documents which he believed could prove his innocence.
Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Mohamed's lawyer, said: "This reflects the way the US government has consistently tried to cover up the truth of Binyam Mohamed's torture.
"He was being told he would never leave Guantanamo Bay unless he promised never to discuss his torture, and never sue either the Americans or the British to force disclosure of his mistreatment.
"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."
Mr Mohamed alleges that he was tortured during more than six years in detention as a terror suspect.
He was first arrested in Pakistan in April 2002 as he tried to fly back to London on a false passport. He claims he was then taken to Morocco and a local interrogator repeatedly sliced his genitals with a scalpel.
Mr Mohamed claims he was asked questions about his life in London which could only have been supplied by British intelligence services.
According to his account he was later moved to a secret CIA prison in Kabul, Afghanistan which resembled a medieval dungeon and was bombarded with rap music 24 hours a day.
He was moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2004, where he confessed to attending lectures by Osama bin Laden, and being sent to America to carry out a "dirty bomb" attack.
Mr Mohamed claims the confessions were a result of torture and the charges against him were dropped.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has referred to the Attorney General the question of whether British agents were complicit in torturing Mr Mohamed and whether to bring a prosecution.
In October Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, at the High Court in London, said the US government was doing "all it could" to avoid disclosing documents relating to the case.
Details of the proposed plea bargain were not included in their October judgment, but the judges said it was now right to reveal it in line with "principles of open justice and the rule of law".
...he was then taken to Morocco and a local interrogator repeatedly sliced his genitals with a scalpel. Mr Mohamed claims he was asked questions about his life in London which could only have been supplied by British intelligence services.