MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) - Former US military prison Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg said in an interview with the BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday that he had offered his help to secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning, but was refused by the government.
"The problem is that the government in its attempts to demonize and criminalize me simply refused to look at anything to do with what I was about," Begg stressed.
Begg claimed he approached former Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt and suggested trying to secure the release of Henning back in 2013 just after the British citizen was abducted, but was rejected. Moreover, through his lawyer he offered to make a video address to the Islamic State (IS) "in the language, terminology, the wording that Islamic State would understand."
"To say that I myself was a former Guantanamo prisoner, dressed in orange and facing execution," Begg told BBC. "So it was a very heartfelt statement I wanted to make in the Arabic language."
However, after three weeks of consideration, the government agreed to allow a video message only through an intermediary.
According to Begg, who was recently cleared of terror charges, he knew who had been holding Henning and was asked by the hostage's friends to intervene. He also added that he had successfully helped to secure the release of hostages taken captive by the IS in Syria in the past.
"I intervened by getting some other groups who could pressurize them to release those individuals and I got them released," he said.
Moazzam Begg, a 45-year-old from Birmingham, had been locked up for months after making a trip to war-torn Syria where he allegedly visited a terrorist training camp between October 9, 2012, and April 9, 2013. In 2002, Begg was arrested in Pakistan by the United States and spent three years at the United States' Bagram prison near Afghanistan's capital Kabul and at the much-criticized Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. No formal charges followed.
In 2014, Begg was charged with the possession of a document for the purposes of funding and training terrorists. Begg was sent to Belmarsh Prison in southeast London.
A London court ruled to release Begg from a high-security prison on October 1, after the prosecution said it did not have evidence to support terrorism charges.
Last week, the IS released a video purportedly showing the beheading of British citizen Alan Henning, an aid volunteer who was taken captive by the jihadists on December 26 after crossing the Turkish border into Syria.
The IS is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.