Last week, the Islamic State (ISIS) released a fourth video depicting the beheading of an English-speaking victim Alan Henning. But Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, says that he tried to prevent the death and may have been successful had investigators cooperated with him, reported The Guardian.
In January of 2013, Begg says that he was working with the U.K. Foreign Office in order to release Henning from the grasp of ISIS. According to an interview with Radio 4, Moazzam had a legitimate chance at getting Alan out of Iraq based on his past successes working with groups like ISIS.
“I was in Syria before Isis and before [al-Qaida’s] al-Nusra Front was proscribed. I was involved in interventions when they had taken hostages. I had got other others groups to pressurize them and got [people] released.”
Begg’s attempts to help get Henning out of danger were put on hold when he was arrested on suspicion of Syrian terrorism charges in February. While serving in Belmarsh prison, Begg continued to make attempts to save Alan. Moazzam claims that authorities chose to ignore a letter Begg wrote pleading to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for Henning’s release.
“They simply refused to look at anything.”
Begg is now filing charges against MI5 for what he said were unlawful circumstances related to his detention, most of which are unrelated to Alan’s death. The case against Moazzam was recently dropped when MI5 would not relinquish notes of its meetings with Begg to prosecutors. Additionally, Moazzam’s car was perhaps unlawfully fitted with a surveillance device for nearly a year. Begg recently tweeted, for the first time since his detention in February, that he was pursuing justice.
Begg maintains that during this time his only reason for going to Syria was to investigate links between the Assad regime and ISIS, information he says could save more victims of ISIS’ beheading videos like Henning.
“I have advocated for negotiations with the Taliban, al-Qaida and negotiations with Isis. The Turks have been [talking] with them. They got their people out.”
Following its usual policy, the UK Foreign Office is not releasing any information or comment regarding Moazzam’s attempts to aid in the rescue of Alan. Their statement about Begg’s claims, reported BBC News, was vague about the state of its investigation into the matter.
“The safety of British nationals is paramount.”
Intervention from the likes of Moazzam Begg may be looking viable as the number of ISIS beheadings increase. Alan Henning is the second British national to be executed in the grisly videos that ISIS has been releasing to incite terror across the Western world. According to Twitter posts from ISIS, an American national, Peter Kassig, will be the next victim. Begg has not commented on any efforts he may be a part of to secure the release of Kassig.
[Image via ISIS, Free Moazzam Begg]