U.K. Uganda Terror Suspect’s Possible Cancer

“We are concerned at the severity of Mr. Mutegombwa’s symptoms and are apprehensive that needs of prisoner are not being met.

[Africa News Update]

A Ugandan U.K.-resident who is facing terrorism conspiracy charges and is possibly suffering from cancer is in grave health in a U.K. prison and not receiving proper medical care, his lawyer says.

Yassin Mutegombwa, 23, is detained at Belmarsh prison. His brother, Hassan, 21, recently was convicted on separate terrorism conspiracy charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison, in a case denounced by his parents and lawyers who say he was railroaded.

In the earlier case, Hassan allegedly obtained funds from a U.K. undercover agent for the purpose of committing an act of terrorism. Lawyers and court observers say the government had no evidence.

The main evidence against Hassan was a tape recorded conversation between him and a U.K. undercover agent in which he said “Insh’Allah,” an Arabic term for “God Willing”  after he asked the agent to lend him $120 to travel to East Africa; the agent did not lend him the money—Hassan was stopped before he could board a plane. He argued that he was traveling to Ugandan to meet his father. His father says he was invited to the U.K. and wanted to testify on behalf of his son but was denied the opportunity.

Hassan’s defense team contends he was referring to when he might see the agent again, when he said “Insh’Allah,” not to any possible alleged act of terrorism.

In the case of the ailing brother, The Black Star News determined Yassin’s grave condition through the Freedom of Information Act. Prison authorities had claimed he was “faking” his illness.

Yassin has received five pints of blood transfusion over the last three months as result of rectal bleeding. He also suffers nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and dizziness. The brothers had been remanded at Britain’s highly guarded Belmarsh Prison since September 12, 2006, on the alleged terrorism conspiracy charges.

Nadeem Afzal, a lawyer representing Yassin complained in a letter to authorities that Yassin’s symptoms require the Prison to conduct more than a urine sample test: “Those instructed suggest that the symptoms exhibited by Mr. Mutegombwa could be those commonly associated with abdominal disorders or even cancer, for which physical examination and diagnostic test are necessary.”

“Blood samples or a colonoscopy would, in our respectful submissions, be more useful in revealing the source and the reason for the metabolized rectal bleeding,” reads the letter.

“We are concerned at the severity of Mr. Mutegombwa’s symptoms and are apprehensive that needs of prisoner are not being met. Mr. Mutegombwa clearly requires constant observation and may require monitoring by a general surgeon, a gastroenterologist or a colorectal surgeon.” Afzal asked that his client be transferred to a hospital rather than the prison’s health clinic.

“Failure to properly address our client’s medical conditions will result in this matter being immediately reported to British Medical Association for investigation,” warns the letter.

An official from Belmarsh’s clinic, Jacque Pryke, said she was “satisfied that the appropriate treatment was given” to Yassin after he collapsed in the prison.

Yassin, whose case hasn’t been heard in court is charged with three alleged counts of receiving training for terrorism, contrary to section 6 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He allegedly received terrorism training at a woodland area in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK. One of the alleged crimes relate to a period between April 28 and May 1, 2006; the second to a period between June 2 and June 4 this year; and the third charge alleges that Yassin received terrorism training near Pondwood Farm, White Waltham, and Berkshire on June 18, 2006.

Investigative news reporter Miwambo writes for The Black Star News from the U.K.

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