Financial sanctions finally lifted on Moazzam Begg
Categories: Latest News
Thursday October 16 2014
The Guardian reports that the Treasury has finally lifted anti-terrorism financial sanctions imposed upon Moazzam Begg, the outreach director of the civil rights organisation CAGE, two weeks after terror charges against him collapsed and he was released without charge.
Begg’s bank accounts had been frozen under terrorist asset-freezing laws since his arrest in February on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp, possessing articles for purposes connected with terrorism and being involved in a funding arrangement by making available a Honda generator.
According to the Guardian, a Treasury spokesman confirmed that all bodies had to “remove all restrictions imposed by the asset freeze for accounts or other funds associated with (Begg)” with immediate effect.
Despite the order, in an interview with the paper, Begg stated that he “could not buy his kids presents for Eid” following his release because of the freeze in place on his assets.
The Times last week noted that Begg’s assets remained frozen despite all terrorism related charges being dropped.
The organisation for which Begg works has also suffered from banking restrictions. CAGE has suffered from the closure of its bank accounts and the organisation has lodged a formal complaint with the financial ombudsman after failing to make progress in direct talks with the banks.
Although the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, informed the Parliamentary Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Dr Hywel Francis MP, earlier this year that “CAGE are not, and have never been, subject to any financial sanctions (including an asset freeze) in the UK”, the Guardian observes that the organisation is still unable to reopen its accounts.
While the Treasury proclaims that the restrictions imposed upon Begg “did not relate to [CAGE]”, the closure of CAGE’s bank accounts came in the wake of Begg’s detention earlier this year.
CAGE is among a number of Muslim organisations who have experienced difficulties with banking institutions in recent months for no apparent cause. Other organisations whose banking services were abruptly withdrawn include Finsbury Park Mosque, Ummah Welfare Trust, and the Cordoba Foundation. Moreover, banks have further withdrawn their services from a number of customers of Syrian descent offering no plausible explanations as to why the facilities have been removed or why the customers have been targetted.