Friday, May 21, 2010

Press Statement: The London Guantánamo Campaign Welcomes William Hague’s Call for Torture Inquiry

Press Statement: The London Guantánamo Campaign Welcomes William Hague’s Call for Torture Inquiry

The London Guantánamo Campaign welcomes the Foreign Secretary’s call for an inquiry into allegations of British involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture. This is an encouraging sign that the newly elected government is ready to make good on pledges of support for an inquiry.

The scope of this inquiry needs to be considered very carefully. Mr. Hague has called for a “judge-led” inquiry. In the interest of impartiality and effectiveness, a full judicial inquiry is needed.

Allegations have been made, and indeed substantiated in the Binyam Mohamed case, of the involvement of British intelligence services in torture, in Uzbekistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere. Post-election allegations of collusion in torture made by British nationals in Bangladesh demonstrate the continued relevance and urgency of this issue.

The inquiry must be comprehensive, to cover all these allegations and any further claims that may arise. It must investigate the systemic failures that led to UK involvement in crimes against humanity, and the specific failings within government that led to flagrant violations of international law. Until now the focus has been on supposed rogue elements within the security services. However, the Binyam Mohamed case has dispelled the myth that it is down to 'a few bad apples’. The underlying policies and practices that led to the UK becoming involved in these abuses must be investigated, to discover who knew what, and at what level of government.

British involvement in extraordinary rendition extends to the use of British territories and mainland airspace for the passage and refuelling of CIA “torture” flights, the handing over of prisoners held in British custody to the US, and other forms of collusion in international crimes. All these matters must be investigated, and safeguards introduced, to ensure that the United Kingdom is never involved in torture again.

Victims need closure, our democracy needs transparency and accountability, and the British people have the right to be assured that this will never happen again.

The London Guantánamo Campaign
21 May 2010

For inquiries, please e-mail:

The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.

No comments:

Post a Comment