Moazzam Begg 'could have secured Henning's release'

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg offered to help the Government secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning from Islamic State (IS) extremists but was rebuffed, he claimed today.

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Alan Henning's brother asks Begg to help other IS captives

Alan Henning's brother Reg has urged Moazzam Begg to make similar efforts to save the lives of other hostages held by Islamic State (IS) militants, including British photojournalist John Cantlie and US aid worker Peter Kassig.

Reg Henning gave interviews for the first time yesterday.

Reg Henning told the BBC:

If possible I would have liked anyone to have saved Alan's life, regardless of their history or background.

If Moazzam Begg believes he could have saved my brother's life I would ask him to make the same efforts to save the lives of all hostages in Syria including John Cantlie and Peter Kassig.

– Reg Henning


Begg: Government's Henning response was 'not adequate'

Moazzam Begg has told ITV News the government's response to his offer to help secure the release of Alan Henning was "not adequate".

Mr Begg said the "government did not really want me to send out the messages that I needed to get Alan Henning released" when he approached officials on two occasions.

Asked how he could have helped Mr Henning's cause, Begg said his experience as a Guantanamo detainee, use of the Arabic language and his previous help in securing the release of hostages in Syria would have resonated with his captors.

Ex-FCO minister confirms Moazzam Begg meeting

Former Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister Alistair Burt has confirmed he met with Moazzam Begg to discuss the British hostage Alan Henning and was "confident" the FCO dealt with it "appropriately".

Begg 'knew who was holding murdered Alan Henning'

Moazzam Begg says he may know the people who were holding murdered British aid worker Alan Henning.

Mr Begg told BBC Radio 4's Today programme said he knew militants "much higher up the ladder" in Islamic State, and had previously helped secure the release of hostages being held by extremist groups in Syria.

Alan Henning was murdered by militants in a video released on Friday. Credit: PA Wire

He revealed he approached the Foreign Office twice with offers to help, and while he was in prison he was told he could deliver a message to IS.

However, the government said the message could only be delivered through an intermediary and not by Begg directly.

Begg claimed the government's "attempt to demonise and to criminalise" him prevented him from delivering a direct "heartfelt" statement to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi which may have helped Henning's cause.

Earlier, CAGE, a human rights organisation represented by Begg, accused the government of "squandering" an opportunity to help Mr Henning.


Moazzam Begg 'could have secured Henning's release'

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg has claimed he was involved in negotiations to secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning before he was arrested.

Begg, who was released from prison last week after seven terror charges against him were dropped, approached the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a bid to help secure Henning's release, human rights organisation CAGE said.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg. Credit: PA Wire

Islamic State released a video on Friday showing the murder of the British aid worker, and CAGE claims the government "squandered to an opportunity" to release Henning by arresting Begg in February.

"CAGE, represented by Moazzam Begg had been approached by the FCO and were actively involved in high levels negotiations to secure the release of Alan Henning up to a week before Moazzam Begg´s arrest," a statement said.

"One can only speculate that Alan may have been free if Moazzam had not been incarcerated for seven months and was able to continue his work in Syria.

"We cannot get Alan Henning back but we owe it to his family and friends to get to the truth of the government's role - or lack thereof - in securing his release and why Moazzam Begg, who perhaps could have secured his release, was arrested in the first place."

Islamic State hostage Kassig: 'I am scared to die'

A US citizen being held by Islamic State militants wrote to his parents telling them he is "pretty scared to die".

Abdul-Rahman Kassig - who was born Peter but changed his name after converting to Islam last year - was threatened at the end of a video showing the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Mr Kassig's parents asked the world to continue to pray for their son. Credit: Kassig family

In the letter, that was sent to his parents in June, Kassig said: "I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping and wondering if I should even hope at all.

"I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through.

"If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need.

"In terms of my faith, I pray everyday and I am not angry about my situation in that sense."

The letter ends with the words: "I love you."

SAS expert: 'There is more of a political picture here'

British special forces have had problems reigning Islamic State (IS) in because of the wider political picture, a special forces expert has told Good Morning Britain

Ex SAS soldier, Bob Paxman said British and American governments were looking at getting boots on the ground "as quickly as possible" to tackle IS because they wanted to be "the dominant force" in the region.

Cande-lit vigil to remember Alan Henning

Cande-lit vigil to remember Alan Henning Credit: ITV News Granada

Mourners held a candle-lit vigil after a memorial service for the murdered British hostage Alan Henning took place in Eccles.

Cande-lit vigil to remember Alan Henning Credit: ITV News Granada
Cande-lit vigil to remember Alan Henning Credit: ITV News Granada
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