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– THE TIPTON THREE

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Tipton, a 50,000 inhabitant town, is in West Midland, UK. It is the home town of three former Guantanamo detainees, who were captured by USA army during operation Absolute justice in 01/10/2002. In late 02/2002 the Tipton three: Ruhal Ahmed,Asif IqbalandShafiq Rasul were transferred to GUantanamo. On 03/09/2004 the three, alongside two more UK citizens and GUantanamo detainees: Tarek Dergoul and Jamal al-Harith , were flown back to UK. They were arrested for preliminary investigation and finally released two days later, on 03/11/2004, without any charges.

* Ruhal Ahmed, born in 03/11/1981 to a family from Bangladeshi origin. He traveled to Pakistan in summer 2001, with Asif Iqbal, apparently to attend a wedding. Ruhal Ahmed was captured in Afghanistan on 01/10/2002.

In 2007 two members of the Tipton three – Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul – agreed to participate in the Channel 4 documentary programme –  “Lie Lab” in an attempt to prove their innocence of allegations made by the US Government. The technology used on the show was developed by Professor Sean Spence from the Sheffield University. Having previously claimed that he had entered Afghanistan for the purposes of carrying out charity work, Ruhal Ahmed admitted on the programme that he had visited an Islamist training camp, where he handled weapons and learned how to use an AK-47. Rasul refused to go through with the test.

Ruhal Ahmed was denied a visa to Australia to promote the docudrama – “The Road to GUantanamo”. Today (04/2008) Ruhal Ahmed is employed as a spokesperson for Amnesty International.

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* Asif Iqbal, born in 04/24/1981. He left school at age 16 to work in a factory. Asif Iqbal traveled to Pakistan in summer 2001 with Ruhal Ahmed, apparently to attend a wedding.  Unconfirmed reports suggest he was detained in northern Afghanistan by the Taliban’s enemy, the Northern Alliance and handed over to USA army.

Asif Iqbal married on 07/02/2005 and is today (04/2008) a free citizen of U.K.

 

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* Shafiq Rasul, born on 04/15/1977 and worked in a Curry’s electronics store in West Midlands. He traveled to Pakistan, apparently for a computer course, in 10/2001, already after The 9/11. Shafiq Rasul’s familylost contact with him in 12/2001. According to his familyShafiq Rasul was a passionate Liverpool FC fan, was into fashion and clubbing. He is believed to have been captured in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.

After his detention in GUantanamo Shafiq Rasul and David Hicks, through the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, challenged the USA government’s practice of holding in indefinite detention foreign nationals captured in Afghanistan during operation “Absolute Justice”.  US designated the prisoners of war as “Enemy Combatants” and did not give them access to counsel, the right to a trial or knowledge of the charges against them. The US Supreme Court, over the administration’s objections, agreed in 11/2003 to hear the cases of the Guantánamo detainees, namely Rasul v Bush and al Odah v. Bush. The arguments were heard on 04/20/2004. In a ruling on O6/28/2004, three months after the release of Shafiq Rasul, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Constitution entitled the detainees to challenge the validity of their detention.

The Tipton three friends studied at the Sacred Heart School and the Alexandra High School in Tipton and lived streets away from each other.

In summer 2003 Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul, endured three months of solitary confinement in GUantanamo Camp Delta’s isolation block after they were wrongly identified by the Americans as having been pictured in a video tape of a meeting in Afghanistan between Osama Bin Laden and the leader of The 9/11 – Mohamed Atta.

Ruhal Ahmed and his two friends Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul were  the figures presented in the 2006 docudrama produced by the British Chanel 4 “The Road to GUantanamo”, in which he and his companions claimed to be abused and humiliated while in USA custody in GUantanamo.

Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul often traveled around the world in order to promote the screening of the docudrama “The Road to GUantanamo”.

 

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