British court orders govt to disclose evidences of US torture

The British government lost a legal battle to keep secret U.S. intelligence material relating to charges on torture by the CIA.

British court orders govt to disclose evidences of US torture

The British government lost a legal battle on Wednesday to keep secret U.S. intelligence material relating to charges on torture involving the CIA.

London's Court of Appeal rejected a request by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to prevent senior judges from disclosing claims that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed had been shackled and subjected to sleep deprivation and threats while in U.S. custody.

 

 

Miliband had argued that full disclosure of the redacted claims might make the United States less willing to share intelligence and thus prejudice Britain's national security.

Recent events showed the importance of sharing intelligence, and the U.S. authorities were concerned about the release of such material, he told parliament, adding that he was working with U.S. officials to ensure bilateral ties were not damaged.

Human rights campaigners said the government had gone to great lengths to conceal torture and the Foreign Office had been concerned mainly with saving face.

"These embarrassing paragraphs reveal nothing of use to terrorists but they do show something of the UK government's complicity with the most shameful part of the War on Terror," said Shami Chakrabati,director of rights campaign group Liberty.

Mohamed, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002. He says he was flown to Morocco on a CIA plane and held for 18 months, during which he says he was repeatedly tortured, including having his penis cut with a knife. Morocco has denied holding him.

He was transferred to Afghanistan in 2004 and later moved to Guantanamo Bay, U.S. authorities have said. He was never charged and returned to Britain in February 2009.

 

Key paragraphs "redacted"

London's High Court ruled in 2008 that the British government must disclose all evidence held against Mohamed.

The court excluded seven sensitive paragraphs supplied by U.S. intelligence services, and judges said later the United States had threatened to end intelligence cooperation if the evidence of torture was released.

But last October, two High Court judges ruled there was "an overwhelming public interest" in releasing the details, a decision the Appeal Court upheld on Wednesday.

"...the treatment reported ... could be readily contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities," the now public judgment said.

Miliband said the Appeal Court would have upheld the principle that no country should disclose intelligence from another without its agreement -- had the substance of the paragraphs not already been put into the public domain by a U.S. court judgment in a separate case in December.

Reuters

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2010, 08:28
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