How torture is used to make "terror" connections.
[Editor's note: Imam Abu Qatada was cleared of all charges when Britain deported him to Jordan. The Jordanian court found no evidence to convict him. ]
Djamel Beghal is described by media as a "terrorist connected to the notorious Finsbury Park mosque" who regularly attended "hate preacher" Imam Abu Qatada's sermons in the late 1990s, when the mosque "was Abu Hamza's base." Once "Osama bin Laden's main European recruiter," Beghal is now being said to be the Kouachi brothers' "mentor." He is even accused by media of having recruited "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and the "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui. Beghal "is also said to have met one of Osama bin Laden's key deputies at the former Al Qaeda leader's base in Afghanistan," reports the UK Daily Mail. "The terror leader spent ten years in prison in France for planning attacks. He was only released in 2010."
Except that the truth is that he seems to actually be just a random guy that got kidnapped at the airport in Abu Dhabi in July of 2001. The Algerian immigrant to France, married to a Frenchwoman and father of four had made the decision in November of 2000 to move his family to Jalalabad, Afghanistan because they wanted to live in a Muslim country. In July 2001, Beghal was accompanying an ailing friend's family from Pakistan to Morocco, when he was inexplicably taken into custody and held for four years in pre-trial detention, during which time he was brutally tortured into falsely confessing to attacking the US Embassy in Paris. A team of doctors kept an eye on his vital signs to advise the torturers how much pain he could tolerate. They told him crazy stories over and over again.
"They wanted me to accuse Abu Qatada at any cost. They wanted me to accuse him of a military plot (bombing plan) or at least to make him responsible for the ideological and financial management of terrorist networks linking London to Kabul but also many other capitals in Europe, Africa and Asia," Beghal told Arnaud Mafille in a 2011 report by CagePrisoners entitled, "Djamel Beghal: British and French complicity in torture."
"He would insist with brutality to reveal the link between Abu Qatada and Osama bin Laden, whom they all called Abu Abdallah. He would also question me about Abu Hamza, the Egyptian Imam of Finsbury Park mosque in London... He was also interested in Sheikh Abdul Wahid. He presented him as the spiritual trainer for suicide bombers and the indoctrinator under the commandment of Osama bin Laden...
"Geographically, he interrogated me on what I knew about the projects of Muslims living mainly in London, Luton, Manchester and Leicester."
French intelligence officials had been tracking Beghal for almost a decade. He was a known activist with Takfir wal Hijra, which they defined as a splinter group from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Beghal continues, "I was offered a scenario of an attack in France without specifying the place but by citing the names of friends living in France I had never mentioned to them before... It was disturbing to hear those names from the mouth of Emirati and CIA agents. France was behind the scenes."
French Judge Brugui�re then offered a bargain to Beghal.
"He grabbed some documents, showing them to me from far, then, full of confidence, he proposed to recognize their contents, to sign them and hence to be saved immediately, as well as my wife and three children. He assured me that instead of being sentenced from 10 to 20 years, I would be sentenced to 5 years at most, and that later I would be released after two and a half years of detention.
"I asked him the content of those documents. I was shocked when he said that it acknowledged the preparation of an attack against the United States Embassy in Paris, adding that Osama bin Laden was the sponsor. It was also proclaiming my repentance and my acknowledgement that I had been misled by Al Qaeda, which would have, by the way, "sold" me to foreign secret services!"
Sylvie Beghal, wife of Djamel Beghal, insisting on his innocence, told UK human rights organization, CAGE that her husband "is being punished for something he didn't do."
"This isn't the first time Mr Beghal has been wrongfully accused. In 2005 an appeal court threw out an earlier conviction for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris as it had been reliant on a confession extracted under torture," reported CAGE.
"He has been placed in solitary confinement after all the false media coverage. He has nothing to do with the attack against Charlie Hebdo," said Mrs. Beghal. "The media is repeating false allegations which have been made against him for 14 years now."
Amandla Thomas-Johnson of CAGE, stated: "Djamel Beghal has never encouraged or carried out any act of violence and there is absolutely nothing that can link him to the attack. The narrative that Djamel Beghal is a 'radicalizer' is an old rumor without basis, its endless repetition causing endless problems to him and his family."