Wednesday, October 1, 2008

British soldiers face Prosecution if they hand prisoners over to known torturer: US

So now the British are telling their soldiers they can't turn over prisoners in Iraq to the US without themselves facing prosecution because they know, as we all know, that the US tortures prisoners. Soldiers who turn prisoners over to the US would be in violation of both the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the turning over of prisoners to groups known to torture.
Click on the title to read the legal opinion rendered to the British Parliament by Michael Fordham QC.
A synopsis of the opinion can be found in the Guardian:

The conclusion reached by Fordham and his colleague Tom Hickman is that an offence would definitely have been committed. If acted on, the opinion could mean that UK troops would not be allowed to "render" detainees to the US military until it was clear that they would no longer face the possibility of torture or ill-treatment.

What prompted the inquiry was a statement made in February this year by Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who was on active service in Iraq. In his statement, Griffin said that he was "in no doubt" that individuals handed over to the US military "would be tortured". He cited what had happened to those detained at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram airbase and Abu Ghraib prison.

The opinion adds: "UK forces operating in Iraq are potentially also subject to UK criminal law, tort law and Iraqi law. Notably, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it a criminal offence for a public official, whatever his nationality and wherever located, to commit an act of torture."


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imageEven in its dying days the Bush administration seeks to vindicate a frightening principle and make it a permanent feature of American law.

It’s the notion that a US president, on his own say-so, can seize and indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere in the world, including US citizens and those on US soil, for any reason he chooses – without “second-guessing”, as the Bush lawyers call judicial review.