Pressure group Cage files complaint over closure of bank accounts

Moazzam BeggMoazzam Begg, the Cage spokesman and former Guantánamo Bay detainee. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Accounts at Barclays and the Co-op were closed in the weeks after spokesman Moazzam Begg was arrested in February

Cage, the London-based pressure group that has the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg as a spokesperson, has lodged a formal complaint to the financial ombudsman after it was forced to the brink of closure when its bank accounts were shut down.

The group’s problems started when Begg, its director of outreach, was arrested in February on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to Syria. In the weeks after Begg’s arrest, Cage’s bank accounts – at Barclays and the Co-op – were closed. Cage, which campaigns on behalf of terrorism suspects who are denied legal rights, said its attempts to continue its work had been hindered by a series of apparently unconnected moves.

Last year the charity commission launched inquiries into its backers, the Anita Roddick Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Then came the closure of bank accounts, coupled with the Treasury’s apparent reluctance to meet to discuss its problems.

Cage said the Treasury this year had advised it to remove Begg as a signatory to its accounts so as to ensure it was “not inconvenienced unduly as a result of your connection with him”. Although the group complied, its direct debits and standing orders were halted and the accounts shut…