Cage,, a forum promoted by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg has claimed that its bank accounts have been closed.
Cage, which campaigns on behalf of terrorism suspects, said Barclays and the Co-operative Bank had shut down its business accounts without any notice or explanation. The move appears to have coincided with Begg being charged in March with terrorism-related offences linked to Syria.
The organisation, formerly called CagePrisoners, also claimed on its website that its assets have been frozen and the personal bank accounts of some of its staff have been closed, The Times reported.
It said the Charity Commission was separately examining donations made by two of its biggest “mainstream donors”. This refers to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT), a Quaker-run charity that has allocated Cage £305,000 in funding since 2007. It has also reportedly received £120,000 from the Roddick Foundation, which distributes part of the fortune of the late Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop.
In an online statement Cage said: “Following the arrest of our outreach director, Moazzam Begg . . . we have noticed with great concern that there appears to be a concerted effort to shut the organisation down or to at least render it operationally ineffective.” It added that two of its other directors are being investigated by their professional regulatory bodies.
Cage insists that it is a legitimate human rights organisation that has exposed complicity by MI5 in the detention and torture of British terrorism suspects abroad. One of its spokesmen, Asim Qureshi, recently appeared on BBC Newsnight arguing that British jihadists who have travelled to Syria pose little risk to the UK.
The organisation has previously supported a number of al-Qaeda terror suspects, however. They include Anwar al-Awlaki, the late hate preacher credited with radicalising a generation of young Muslims through his internet sermons.
More recent cases backed by Cage include that of Aafia Siddiqui, a woman nicknamed “Lady al-Qaeda” who has been convicted of shooting at Americans in Afghanistan. The organisation is also highlighting the case of Omar Bakri Muhammad, the extremist preacher banned from Britain who now stands accused of involvement in terrorism in Lebanon.