The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has strongly urged the United States to withdraw its blackmails to the release of evidence on the alleged torture of a former British Guantanamo Bay detainee.
In an overnight statement, the ICJ "called on the new U.S. administration to depart from the previous administration's policy and withdraw its blackmails to the disclosure of the information in the English courts."
The Geneva-based group, whose 60 jurists work to uphold the rule of law, said that the case was undermining accountability for the crime of torture but offered a chance for President Barack Obama's administration to break with the legacy of George W. Bush's "war on terror".
A ruling by two senior British judges said on Wednesday that Washington blackmailed to end intelligence cooperation if Britain published full details of the case. Foreign Secretary David Miliband has defended his decision to oppose the release.
The case centres on an application by British media to the court for the full release of evidence the British government held about the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
"The new U.S. administration has signalled its wish to break decisively with the counter-terrorism policies of the past, including the condoning of torture and ill-treatment, and to reassert the rule of law in counter-terrorism. This case tests the strength of that intent," it said.
Both governments should work together to allow this information to be disclosed, according to the jurists group headed by former Irish President Mary Robinson.
"The Court has made it clear that it considers non-disclosure of the evidence to be inconsistent with the rule of law and democratic values. For it to be forced to act against those principles undermines the role and independence of the courts," the ICJ declared.
The British government and the new U.S. administration must ensure that the independence of the courts, and their ability to disclose information essential to the accountability for crimes of torture, is not undermined by threats to withdraw intelligence co-operation, it said.
The judges said advice from Britain's Foreign Office was that publication of the contested seven paragraphs could lead to reduced intelligence cooperation and prejudice Britain's national security.
British foreign secretary David Miliband later denied the reports on send the blackmails to judges and said that Britain "never condoned or authorised the use of torture."
He added: "There has been no threat from the United States to quote-unquote break off intelligence cooperation."
In October the Pentagon official overseeing the Guantanamo war crimes court dismissed all charges against Mohamed, who says he falsely confessed to a radioactive "dirty bomb" plot while being tortured in a Moroccan prison.