US army abducted SA man - report

Date: 11 Jun 2007
Johannesburg man studying in Syria is reported to have been secretly abducted by American soldiers and moved to Ethiopia. Abdul Hamid Moosa (41) of Robertsham had been in regular contact with his family since moving to Damascus to study in September 2005. But their last contact with him was on December 29 last year. Last Friday, Claire Gutteridge, a British human rights worker, contacted the family to allege that Moosa was being held without trial in Addis Ababa. The family was sceptical but a call from a Swedish Muslim, Munir Awad, convinced them. Awad had apparently shared a cell with Moosa before being released after pressure from the Swedish government and Gutteridge's organisation, Reprieve. Awad claimed the men were being held without trial in Addis Ababa, and that the authorities didn't have any facts to support their indefinite detention. It was alleged that women, including Awad's pregnant wife, were regularly abused by prison guards and that the male prisoners were tortured. The family has contacted Foreign Affairs as well as attorney Zehir Omar, who is also representing the family of Khalid Rashid, who was reportedly transported in a charted private jet from Waterkloof airbase in Pretoria on November 6, after American agencies suspected him of involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan. The Media Review Network (MRN) yesterday urged the South African government to secure Moosa's release from the United States military base on the Horn of Africa, which is where they believe he is being kept. According to MRN chairperson Iqbal Jassat, a report by Reprieve said that Moosa was a victim of "enforced disappearance - abduction or arrest with the connivance of the US government and the host state". "This lends credence to our suspicion that 'Guantanamo-style' detention camps exist in some north and east African countries," he said. - By Michael Schmidt & Sapa The Star 09/06/07 e2