Cage Prisoners (now “CAGE”) celebrated the release from Guantanamo Bay in 2004 of British prisoner, Ronald Fiddler, aka Jamal Al Harith:
Jamal Al Harith, 35, is from Manchester and a website designer of Jamaican origin.
Born Ronald Fiddler on November 20, 1966, to devout, churchgoing Jamaican parents, al Harith converted to Islam in his 20s after reading Malcom X’s biography. He has two sisters, Maxine and Sharon.
His family say he is a gentle, quiet man who rarely spoke of his faith unless asked, and after four years learning Arabic and teaching English at Khartoum University in Sudan, he seemed happy enough to return home where he started to study nursing. At this time, he also established a computer business. He later moved back to Manchester, where he worked as an administrator in a Muslim school.
He travelled from the UK to Pakistan at the end of September 2001, retracing a journey he had made to Iran in 1993. He paid a lorry driver to take him from northern Pakistan to Iran as part of a backpacking trip, but they were stopped near the Afghan border by Taliban soldiers who saw his British passport and jailed him, in October, fearing he was a spy. He had been away from home only three weeks when he was captured.
As the operation to mop up al Qaida forces went on into the spring of 2001, he was captured by US forces while being held in Kandahar Jail. He was interrogated by the CIA in Afghanistan before being taken to Guantanamo.
He was released from Guantanamo and returned to the UK on 9th March 2004. After a few hours of questioning he was released without charge and reunited with his family. Jamal was the first of the British detainees to speak publicly about his ordeal. He married in late 2004 and has three children (aged 3,5, and 8) from a previous marriage.
The Daily Mail reported in 2015:
“[A]fter intense campaigning by Tony Blair’s government, British citizen al-Harith – who had pleaded his innocence – was let out two years later.
He launched a compensation claim on the grounds British agents knew or were complicit in his mistreatment and was handed up to £1million of taxpayers’ money to stay silent.”
Fiddler also participated in George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoy, alongside various other lovely people:
A third suspected member of the gang was also revealed as Allexanda Kotey, a Queens Park Rangers fan who grew up just two miles away from Emwazi in west London.
The Muslim convert travelled to the Middle East in 2009 on an aid convoy organised by George Galloway and is suspected of being “Ringo” in the group.
Others on the 100-vehicle convoy included Munir Farooqi, who received four life sentences at Manchester Crown Court in 2011 after being found guilty of trying to recruit undercover police officers to fight in Afghanistan.
Reza Afsharzadegan, a leader of the notorious London Boys gang who was close to Emwazi, also volunteered on the £1 million aid convoy.
Another was Jamal Al-Harith, from Manchester, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who is believed to have slipped through UK border controls to Syria last year.
They announced that a man using the name Abu Zakariya al-Britani was one of two fighters to target Shia militia southwest of the city using reinforced 4×4 vehicles laden with explosives.
An image was circulated showing the smiling Briton wearing military fatigues inside the heavily fortified car. He was surrounded by what appeared to be improvised explosive devices and a detonator dangling in front of him on a wire. A video was said to show the man, whose nomme de guerre signifies that he has a son called Zakariya, speeding into the distance. There followed a plume of smoke.