Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, has appeared in court charged with funding terrorism in Syria
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
12:38PM GMT 01 Mar 2014
A former Guantanamo Bay detainee who received an estimated £1 million compensation from the government has appeared in court charged with terrorism offences.
Moazzam Begg is charged with providing instruction and training for terrorism and funding terrorism in Syria, plus terrorism funding offences.
The 45-year-old was arrested by West Midlands Police on Tuesday at his home in Hall Green, Birmingham.
He appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court, along with a woman, Gerrie Tahari, 44, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, who is accused of funding terrorism overseas.
Begg’s charges involve providing terrorism training and instruction between October 9 2012 and April 9 2013.
He is also charged with being “concerned in a terrorist funding arrangement” between July 14 and August 8 2013.
Tahiri, who was dressed in a black hijab, is facing charges of being “concerned in a terrorist funding arrangement” between December 31 2011 and November 6 2013.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges and were remanded in custody until March 14, when they will appear at the Old Bailey.
Begg, dressed in a black sweatshirt and trousers, placed his hand on his heart and waved to supporters as he entered the dock.
Rakesh Sarin, prosecuting, told the court: “This case relates to his [Begg’s] activities in Syria and to activities in the UK as well.
“In relation to the charge of providing instruction and training it is the Crown’s case that he was in Syria at a camp of rebel fighters.
“During his time at that camp he provided training and instruction in terrorism.”
The prosecutor said in Gerrie Tahari’s case she is accused of using an eBay account in Britain to buy “items … that are clearly consistent with use in armed conflict”.
Details of the alleged purchases were not read out in court.
Begg was originally detained in Pakistan in 2002 by US authorities and transferred to Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba.
He spent nearly three years in detention before being released without charge.
Begg was among a group of ex-detainees who sued the British government, alleging complicity in their detention.
The government settled out of court three years ago for an undisclosed sum. Begg is believed to have received up to £1 million in compensation.
Jeremy Coleman, a district judge, remanded both in custody until March 14.
Two men aged 20 and 36, also arrested on Tuesday, remain in police custody.