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British Suicide Bomber in Iraq Received Compensation for Guantanamo Stay | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jamal al-Harith, of Britain, a former inmate at Guantanamo Bay, gestures after his testimony to Europe’s top human rights body in Paris, Reuters

An ISIS suicide bomber from Britain who blew himself up in an attack on Iraqi forces this week had been given compensation for his detention in the Guantanamo Bay military prison, Western security sources said on Wednesday.

ISIS militants said Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, a British citizen who was originally known as Ronald Fiddler and then cast himself as Jamal Udeen al-Harith, detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base southwest of Mosul this week.

The militants also published a photograph of the smiling bomber surrounded by wires in the seat of what appeared to be the car in which he blew himself up.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was not able to verify his identity.

“There is no independent confirmation of the identity of this man who is believed to be dead in Mosul,” he told reporters. “Obviously the situation in Syria means we don’t have any capacity to verify anything in Syria.”

Britain reached a civil damages settlement with British former Guantanamo Bay inmates in 2010, then-Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke told parliament at the time, but he did not disclose the size of the payouts, citing confidentiality agreements.

The Daily Mail reported that Britani had been awarded $1.25 million by the British government after claiming British agents knew or were complicit in his alleged mistreatment.

May’s spokesman declined to comment on the details of any payments or whether the government had been monitoring Britani.

Britani’s family, in a statement to the BBC, said their son had not received a million pounds in compensation and that they believed that figure was a group settlement, including costs, covering other inmates too.

He was released in 2004 after the government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair lobbied for his release. He later travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS.

In a statement posted by his office on Twitter, Blair said the Mail newspaper had led a campaign pushing for Guantanamo detainees’ release, and it had been supported by lawmakers from May’s Conservatives.

“The fact is that this was always a very difficult situation where any government would have to balance proper concern for civil liberties with desire to protect our security, and we were likely to be attacked whatever course we took,” he said.