Libya renditions revelations show Secret Courts Bill must be dropped

September 6, 2012

Commenting on a major new Human Rights Watch report published today, which presents “new details showing a close degree of cooperation among the US, the UK, and other Western governments with regard to the forcible return and subsequent interrogation of Gaddafi opponents in Libya,” and calls on the Government to drop the Justice and Security Bill, which could prevent such information coming to light in future, Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar said:

“This makes the case against the introduction of secret courts, which would cover up UK complicity in torture and rendition, stronger than ever.

“The full extent of the government’s involvement in rendering political opponents back to Gaddafi’s torture chambers is still emerging, yet ministers are trying to shut down accountability before it can even begin.

“Khadidja al Saadi, who was just 12 when she was forcibly flown back to a Libyan prison alongside her dissident father in 2004, has written to Ken Clarke to ask him to think again about the Justice and Security Bill.  All that she and her family want is an explanation of how this was allowed to happen, and an apology.  Yet by bringing in one-sided, secret courts in which the state has the upper hand, the Government risks ensuring that this reasonable request will never be granted.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 427 1082 / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

2. Human Rights Watch’s report can be found here: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/09/06/delivered-enemy-hands-0

It includes the following, under ‘Recommendations to the Government of the United Kingdom’: “End efforts to pass the Justice and Security Bill, which would widen the use of secret hearings whenever national security grounds are invoked in civil court proceedings, excluding the person affected and their lawyer from the courtroom and preventing disclosure of material showing UK involvement in wrongdoing by other countries.”

3. Khadidja al Saadi’s letter to Ken Clarke can be found on Reprieve’s website: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/media/downloads/2012_05_29_PUB_Khadeejas_Letter_in_English.pdf