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CAGE Africa to tackle injustices on local front: Ridley

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The world renowned pro-human rights group CAGE has launched a South African based sister organisation called CAGE Africa, with the aim of tackling incidents of human rights abuse on the continent, that stem from the global ‘war on terror’. CAGE Africa will also assist UK-based group Reprieve, with lawsuits appealing for the release of the remaining prisoners currently being held at the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The CAGE organisation was founded by former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, as a means of tackling the injustices faced by inmate at the controversial prison, many of whom have been held without trial or charges against them. The group has ardently lobbied for the release of the remaining detainees, whilst also tackling similar cases of injustice across the globe.

Amongst those to have attended the launch of CAGE Africa, was British journalist and activist, Yvonne Ridley, who was the guest speaker at the event. Speaking to VOC’s Drivetime on Monday, she reiterated the organizations stance that they were determined to bring justice to those adversely affected by the ‘war on terror’, regardless of their religion.

Cage founder Begg, who was initially released in 2005 without trial or charge, was recently rearrested on British soil as a result of his work in Syria. Ridley noted an unprecedented ‘gagging order’ by the British courts, forbidding any journalist from addressing any aspects of the case.

“All we can say for sure is Moazzam Begg is in a maximum security prison, awaiting trial in October. We at CAGE are confident that if justice is delivered, Moazzam will once again be released a free man,” she said.

As to the nature of his work in Syria, Ridley said she had previously accompanied Begg to Libya during the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. During that time, she said CAGE managed to acquire an “extraordinary amount of intelligence documents”, which purportedly linked Britain to being complicit in the USA’s ‘rendition, torture and kidnap’ program.

“I know that Moazzam was hopeful that we might find similar documentation in Syria as the Assad regime crumbles,” she claimed.

CAGE UK has actively promoted the idea that every single countries judicial process should be followed when dealing with suspected cases of terror. Ridley rejected the notion of throwing individuals into detention facilities, without having a court hear their cases.

“If someone has committed a crime, arrest them, charge them, and put them through the courts. It is as simple as that. Putting them in a black hole, away from the public eye is not justice. In fact, what it will do is breed more resentment,” she said.

In terms of the launch of CAGE Africa, Ridley was confident the organisation would be of benefit when looking into issues on an Africa continent, where the idea of Human Rights has largely been ignored. She insisted the focus of CAGE Africa would be the tackling cases injustices on the continent, and if such issues were present, they would confidently expose them regardless of who was responsible.

“Cage operates without fear or favour, because human rights are for everybody. Everyone, no matter what they’ve done, is entitled to his or her day in court,” she said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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