US Government drops ‘dirty bomb plot’ allegation against British resident Binyam Mohamed

October 7, 2008

Image of Shaker behind bars

Reprieve, the legal action charity whose lawyers represent British resident Binyam Mohamed, is delighted to announce that the central charge against Mr. Mohamed in his proposed trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo – that he was involved in a plot to set off a radioactive ‘dirty bomb’ in a US city – has been dropped by the US Government.

Reprieve has long maintained that the entire case against Mr. Mohamed should be dropped by the US Government, and that he should be returned to the UK, as requested by the British Government in August 2007.

Mr. Mohamed is a victim of “extraordinary rendition” and torture. He was sent to Morocco by the CIA, where he was tortured for 18 months, and was then rendered to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, where his torture continued. As a result, all the supposed ‘evidence’ against him is the fruit of torture, and would be inadmissible in any court other than the Military Commissions.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director, said:

“This is great news, and long overdue, but it is by no means the end of the story. The rest of the US government’s case against Mr. Mohamed is also based on the excruciating torture that he underwent in Morocco and in the “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan, and we will not rest until the US government concedes defeat, and returns Mr. Mohamed to the UK.”

The long history of the supposed ‘dirty bomb plot’ dates back to April 2002, after Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was seized at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and accused of plotting to detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ in a US city. At some point the US authorities decided that Mr. Mohamed was also included in the ‘plot’, even though he insists that he never met Mr. Padilla, and even though the ‘plot’ did not actually exist. In June 2002, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy to US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, admitted that “there was not an actual plan” to set off a radioactive device in America, that Mr. Padilla had not begun trying to acquire materials, and that intelligence officials had stated that his research had not gone beyond surfing the internet.


For further information, please contact Andy Worthington at Reprieve’s Press Office on 020 7427 1099 or email:

Note for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves:

• representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.

• working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty.

• conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secretdetention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

ReprievePO Box 52742LondonEC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email:

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