Torture verdict in High Court tomorrow

August 20, 2008

Image of a man, distraught, clutching to the bars of his prison cell

Reprieve (the legal action charity which represents 32 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay) announces that Lord Thomas is due to deliver his judgment tomorrow morning on the case of Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Binyam Mohamed.

When: Thursday August 21, 10.30 am
Where: The Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London

The case revolved around whether the British government had to reveal evidence in its possession showing that Mr. Mohamed was rendered and tortured by or on behalf of the US administration and that the British Government knew about and were involved in that process.

The lawsuit followed the government’s refusal to disclose such evidence, claiming that “the UK is under no obligation under international law to assist foreign courts and tribunals in assuring that torture evidence is not admitted” and that “it is HM Government’s position that […] evidence held by the UK Government that US and Moroccan authorities engaged in torture or rendition cannot be obtained” by his British lawyers.

‘Agent B’, one of the British agents who interviewed Mr. Mohamed in Pakistani custody, was cross-examined during the hearing for many hours. The court also heard evidence on the unfairness of the US Military Commissions, the ‘Kangaroo Courts’ which are trying the few Guantanamo prisoners against whom charges have been brought.

Tomorrow, Lord Thomas will rule as to whether the British Government must hand over the information in its possession which would prove that Binyam Mohammed was tortured (which the US currently denies) and that the British Government knew that this was going to happen to one of its residents.

Binyam Mohamed is a British resident and Reprieve client who was subjected to rendition and torture by or on behalf of US forces for over two years, and was then imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay, where he has been held without charge since September 2004.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director, who has represented Mr. Mohamed since 2005, stated:

“Compelling the British government to release whatever information it holds regarding its knowledge of Mr. Mohamed’s rendition and torture is vital. This evidence will show that the US case against Binyam is based entirely on evidence obtained by torture and will further discredit the charade currently taking place in Guantánamo Bay.”

-ENDS-

For further information and interviews, please contact Clare Algar at Reprieve’s Press Office on: clare.algar@reprieve.org.uk or on 020 7427 1085.

Note for editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA. Reprieve lawyers currently represent over thirty prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve lawyers have represented Mr. Mohamed since 2005.

For more details about Reprieve, visit: www.reprieve.org.uk.

Reprieve

PO Box 52742

London EC4P 4WS

Tel: 020 7353 4640

Fax: 020 7353 4641

Email: info@reprieve.org.uk

Website: www.reprieve.org.uk

Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner