On Thursday September 28, 2023, the European Parliament hosted a conference entitled “Close Guantánamo!”. The latter was organized by two Irish MPs, members of the European Left group (GUE/NGL), Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, “in close collaboration” with the British journalist Andy Worthington and Mansoor Adayfi, former prisoner of Guantánamo Bay and member of the Cage association.
His goal ? “Raise awareness among European deputies about the fate of the 16 prisoners still there, call for a joint effort from the European Union to allow their transfer and improve the living conditions of the former transferred prisoners,” explains Nicolas Jeanne, parliamentary assistant, to Le Figaro. of the international institution. The “prison for terrorists”, landlocked in Cuban territory, was created in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. “Enemy combatants” have since been incarcerated there in conditions repeatedly denounced by American and international opinion.
This conference, however, triggered the anger of certain deputies of the European institution, including Jean-Paul Garraud, president of the RN delegation to the European Parliament, because of its participants. “The European Union reaches a new milestone! After the promotion of Islamism, this time it is Al-Qaeda and its soldiers who are in the spotlight in the European Parliament!”, he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Before continuing: “The far-left group, of which La France Insoumise is a part, is organizing a conference today at the European Parliament with (...) the Cage association, described by the French government as “an Islamist organization ” whose director is “a former jihadist from the Afghan camps”!”. The MEP relied here on the comments of the French General Secretariat of the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR).
The latter in fact pointed out, in April 2022, the behavior of the association which includes Moazzam Begg and Mansoor Adayfi, former detainees who both took part in the conference at the European Parliament this Thursday. “Cage has, for example, published remarks attacking Samuel Paty, and defended the actions which led to his death,” denounced the CIPDR in a publication on X, calling it an “Islamist organization”. “Extremism is rife with Cage. Its research director considers that it is the duty of Muslims to support armed jihad,” he added.
The association, which has accused France of “Islamophobia” several times, was born during the war in Iraq to protest against the American policy of repressing Islamist terrorism around the world. Today she maintains troubled relations with figures from the Brotherhood movements such as Tariq Ramadan. The association had in fact shared several interventions by the latter on its Facebook page, including an interview in July 2018.
“Under the cover of fighting against Islamophobia, Cage is linked to the international Islamist movement, including the jihadist movement,” warned Gilles Clavreul, co-founder of Printemps Républicain, in the weekly Marianne. Thus, “far from the empowerment and the objective of justice which she prides herself on, Cage brings together a true Islamist ecosystem. Founded in 2003, the structure is headed by a former jihadist from the Afghan camps, Moazzam Begg,” the CIPDR also ruled.
The British man was incarcerated for several months in the American prison, between 2003 and 2005, and claims to have been tortured there before being “released without charge by the American administration” and returned to England. He was arrested again in February 2014 by British law enforcement on suspicion of having participated in a terrorist training camp, the BBC reported. However, he was released in October of the same year and cleared.
The participation of this association and its members in a conference at the European Parliament is therefore “inadmissible”, concluded Jean-Paul Garraud. Contacted by Le Figaro, conference organizer Clare Daly responded: “I have never had contact with Mr. Garraud and do not know his opinion. All I can say is that some members of his political group (ID) are among the many MEPs who have expressed their support for this initiative." Which the RN MEP firmly denies.
The organizers of the conference also add that they have not received “any dissatisfied emails”, but on the contrary a lot of thanks, following the event.