Senior High Court judges have ordered the UK government to release secret evidence of official complicity in the torture of British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was held in Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan for two years.
Foreign secretary David Miliband has repeatedly claimed that releasing evidence that proves MI5 and MI6 knew about, and were complicit in, torture including genital mutilation would damage British national security. The judges dismissed this claim, ruling that:
“In principle a real risk of serious damage to national security, of whatever degree, should not automatically trump a public interest in open justice which may concern a degree of facilitation by UK officials of interrogation using unlawful techniques which may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
In a recent case in a US court concerning another former Guantanamo inmate, the judge noted that Mohamed’s “trauma lasted for two long years. During that time he was physically and psychologically tortured. His genitals were mutilated … All the while he was forced to inculpate himself and others in various plots to imperil Americans.”
Mohamed was subsequently released without charge, clearly demonstrating that he in fact knew nothing about any terrorist offences.
The British high court judges say there is clear evidence that UK government officials knew what was happening to Mohamed and supported the torture. In the high court last year, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that it was clear from the evidence “that the relationship of the United Kingdom government to the United States authorities in connection with Binyam Mohamed was far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing”.
I don’t know what you think: but if my government think it’s okay for an innocent man to have his genitals crushed and mutilated, I want to know about it. What’s more, I want the individuals concerned to be punished. British law bans the use of torture for very good reasons: we are supposed to be civilised and to respect the rule of law. No one can be allowed to think they are above the law. Releasing the evidence of this complicity in torture is essential.
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