Fresh evidence of British collusion in torture

Published on WSWS, by Robert Stevens, 3 August 2009.

Further evidence of British collusion in the torture of UK citizens has come to light. Alam Ghafoor, a British businessman, was seized in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in July 2005 while on a business trip. He was subjected to days of mistreatment and torture …

… Madni, a Pakistani national, was abducted on January 11, 2002 by Indonesian intelligence agents while visiting a friend in Jakarta. Two days later, without a court hearing or lawyer, Iqbal was put on an unmarked US-registered Gulfstream jet parked at a military airport in Jakarta and flown to Egypt. 

According to an article published in the Guardian on July 28 by Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith, “The Americans put him in a coffin and flew him to Egypt, apparently stopping off in the British colony of Diego Garcia en route.

“When Madni arrived in Cairo, he was still bleeding through his nose and mouth from his earlier abuse, yet this was soon relegated to a minor complaint. At the behest of the Americans, he spent 92 days being tortured with electric cattle prods before being rendered to Afghanistan and ultimately to Guantánamo Bay.”

The legal case against the British government is centred on the following facts:

  • “Reprieve has discovered that Mr. Madni was almost certainly rendered to torture via the British Overseas Territory of Diego Garcia; Diego Garcia is a British Overseas Territory subject to UK sovereignty, but has been made available to the US for certain defence purposes since 1967; the UK government denied Diego Garcia’s involvement in rendition 54 times; in answer to the 55th demand in January 2008, Foreign Secretary David Miliband admitted to two cases of illegal rendition via Diego Garcia and was forced to apologise for misleading both Parliament and Reprieve; Mr. Miliband has previously blocked Reprieve’s attempts to restore the victims’ legal rights, refusing to admit their identities.”
  • Reprieve’s executive director, Clare Algar, said, “For too long, Diego Garcia has been used as a secret safe haven for the US and UK. It is about time this territory was subjected to the scrutiny of the law. Mr. Madni’s case is the first step towards restoring the rule of law to Diego Garcia.”
  • Clive Stafford Smith commented on the implications of the legal action, saying, “Rendition is kidnap, pure and simple, and there is a very serious principle at stake here. The British government refuses to admit its involvement in a crime, then refuses to identify the victims and affirmatively blocks others from trying to reunite them with their legal rights.
  • “Mr. Madni suffers serious physical and psychological injuries as a result of his rendition to torture, yet has never had so much as an apology from his abusers. He is happy finally to be free, but wants to launch this action to ensure that no one is forced to suffer in this way in future.”

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