Reprieve reveals the identity of the ‘ghost prisoner’ illegally rendered to torture in Egypt via Diego Garcia

May 19, 2009

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At a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing tomorrow, Clive Stafford Smith will reveal the identity of the ‘ghost prisoner’ illegally rendered to torture in Egypt via Diego Garcia, and disclose new evidence that at least one prisoner was actually held at the British territory.

Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith will testify on illegal renditions and detention using the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia.

The inquiry’s first evidence session, which is open to the public, will be held in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, Westminster at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 20th May.

The British government belatedly admitted that two prisoners were rendered through Diego Garcia in 2002, and David Miliband sent a letter of apology to Mr Stafford Smith, expressing his regret that the government has repeatedly misled Reprieve on this point (not to mention Parliament and the country). However, for reasons best known to themselves, the Government refused to name the two men, or assist Reprieve’s efforts to correct this wrong.

Mr Stafford Smith will tell the story of Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, who has been identified by Reprieve as one of the prisoners. Mr Madni subsequently faced 90 days of torture in Egypt before being taken to Guantánamo Bay.

Mr Stafford Smith will also reveal the likely identity of the second prisoner, who recently died in custody after more than seven years of abuse. Furthermore, notwithstanding repeated demands, the UK continues to deny that Diego Garcia has ever hosted a US black site. Now Reprieve has identified a prisoner who was actually held there. The UK government has repeatedly misled the British public with respect to renditions, and it has been left to NGOs like Reprieve to gradually uncover the shameful truth.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is expected to appear at this inquiry when it continues in June.

“Extracting the truth about renditions and secret detentions has been akin to pulling teeth,” said Mr Stafford Smith. “But, as any dentist will tell you, the more the government resists, the more painful the process. It is time for a full and open inquiry into Britain’s recent, shabby association with these illegal acts.”


For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office 020 7427 1099.

Notes 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’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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