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Birthday appeal by terror suspect wife.

The wife of a Birmingham man detained as a terrorist suspect in Cuba called yesterday for him to be freed to meet the son he has never seen.

Sally Begg said her husband Moazzam, aged 35, had missed the birth of his youngest child -who was one yesterday -after he was arrested in Pakistan where he was working as a teacher and charity worker.

Mrs Begg is also demanding that her husband, from Sparkhill, be tried before a British court instead of an American military tribunal if he is charged with being involved in al Qaida.

Mrs Begg, speaking publicly for the first time since he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities 18 months ago at their home in Islamabad, said: 'I think he should be brought back home where I can see him, where the children can see him, where he can see his baby that he has never seen and who is one year old today.'

Asked if she had any message for Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mrs Begg replied: 'I would say 'You are a father, you are a husband and you are there for your wife. I want my husband to be there for my children and for me and I need him just like your wife needs you'.'

Mrs Begg, who has moved back to Britain, continued: 'My husband is British so he should come home and be tried in Britain.

'If he has done anything wrong, then he should be tried, but he should be tried on British soil in Britain and with fair lawyers in a normal court - not a military tribunal.'

Earlier this month it emerged that Mr Begg and Feroz Abbasi, aged 23, could be among the first detainees at the American-run detention camp in Guantanamo, Cuba, to face trial by military tribunal.

Mrs Begg, who has three other children aged seven, five and two with her husband, described how their home in Islamabad was raided on the night she told him she was pregnant with their fourth child.

'I was asleep in the room with my children and never saw my husband ever again -they walked off with him.

'They took all the money I had, they took all the telephones, they took all the numbers. I had no telephone numbers, no phone, no money. I was pregnant all on my own with four kids.'

Mrs Begg admitted she was frequently depressed and has kept in touch with her husband through the Red Cross and American authorities, though his replies have been been intermittent.

'He said that he did not get very much food in Bagram in the airbase, but I think in Guantanamo Bay his treatment is much better.'


Moazzam Begg's son, who was one yesterday
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 15, 2003
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