Monday, June 27 2016

HRW report accuses UK govt of colluding in torture

 Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a 62-page report titled 'No Questions Asked' in which it says that the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom cooperate 'with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture.' 

From the EU Observer:

'Intelligence services in all three countries claim it is impossible to know the sources and methods used to acquire shared information in states such as Algeria, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. But officials in the UK and Germany have made public statements indicating that they believe it is sometimes acceptable to use foreign intelligence even if it is obtained under torture, the report notes.

'The 62-page long document cites the case of Djamel Beghal, whose statements made under ill-treatment in the United Arab Emirates were used against him in a French court, where he was on trial for plotting a terrorist attack.

'In another example, the alleged confession of a man known as Abu Attiya under ill-treatment in Jordan was used against terrorism suspects on trial in France.

'German courts have allowed as evidence the summaries of interrogations of three high-profile terrorism suspects held incommunicado in US detention, as well as evidence collected as result of statements made by Aleem Nasir, a Pakistan-born German citizen suspected of ties to militant Islamist groups, while in the custody of the Pakistani intelligence services.'

The UK government is, according to the Guardian, also facing pressure on the domestic front:

'In the courts, the legal charity Reprieve is pressing for a judicial review of the legality of the guidance given to MI5 and MI6 officers questioning suspects held overseas since the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001, arguing that it sanctions complicity in torture.

'A high court judge yesterday ruled that the guidance may well be unlawful, but said such a review was not necessary after hearing that the government would be rewriting and publishing the policy in the near future. Reprieve is considering whether to appeal against that decision, arguing that it exposes detainees to continuing mistreatment.'

The Guardian continues:

'At the high court, Mr Justice Collins said the allegations about the manner in which UK intelligence officers interrogated detainees held overseas, if true, "indicated that there may well have been complicity in acts of torture". He added: "It hasn't been suggested by [the government] that any actions taken by the relevant personnel have been taken in breach of any guidelines; accordingly, the inference could be drawn that the guidance was ... unlawful."

'He decided against authorising a review of the legality of the guidelines after James Eadie QC, for the government, said new guidance was "immediately prospective". Eadie added: "This government is committed to publishing the consolidated guidance very shortly."

'Richard Hermer QC, for Reprieve, said there was no doubt there had been complicity in torture. "If you're receiving intelligence from a man who you know the previous day had electrodes attached to his testicles, then you are taking advantage of that torture and you are reaping its fruits."'

The issuance of new guidelines will need to uphold the UK government’s commitment to the protection of human rights by reaffirming the absolute prohibition on torture. The domestic and international pressure on the UK government to publicly repudiate its cooperation with foreign intelligence services that engage in torturing suspects comes on the back of the 23rd anniversary of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 August 2010 11:49

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