International

Documents Reveal U.S. Knowingly Transfers Detainees To Countries That Torture

posted on November 18, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink

by News Release Source: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) URL: [link] Date: November 18, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 18, 2008 Controversial “Diplomatic Assurances” Revealed For The First Time In Records Obtained By ACLU And Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic released documents today revealing for the first time details of the U.S. government’s process for transferring individuals to countries where they face a significant risk of being tortured. The documents, which were uncovered as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the two organizations, shed new light on the fundamentally flawed practice of “diplomatic assurances” or secret promises obtained from foreign governments that they will not torture the returned individuals. “The United States' practice of relying on deeply flawed diplomatic assurances makes a mockery of our obligations under the Convention Against Torture,” said Judy Rabinovitz, Deputy Director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. “Now that President-elect Obama has pledged to end torture, it is a perfect time to put a stop to policies that permit the transfer of individuals facing torture in foreign countries. Our government should stop trusting such inherently unreliable assurances and immediately disclose all remaining records relating to this practice.” The documents released today include copies of actual diplomatic assurances – the first ever to be made public. The U.S. government has repeatedly insisted that the assurances must remain secret.

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Contradictory Verdicts in Australia’s Largest Terrorism Trial

posted on October 04, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink

By Mike Head
Source: The World Socialist Website
URL: [link]
Date: September 27, 2008


Australia’s largest and most protracted terrorist trial ended with distinctly mixed results last week in Melbourne. After a Victorian Supreme Court trial that ran for 115 days, the nine women and three men on the jury took nearly four weeks to reach their verdicts. While they found seven of the twelve defendants guilty of terrorist-related offences, they acquitted four others of all charges and were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on another, who now faces a lengthy re-trial.

Those acquitted walked free after nearly three years in maximum security prison cells; the lawyers for those convicted have indicated that they will almost certainly appeal. No sentencing has yet occurred, but if the convictions were upheld, they could be jailed for between 10 and 50 years.

The trial became a major test case for the so-called “war on terror” and the draconian anti-terrorist legislation introduced by the former Howard government from 2002, with the Labor Party’s support. Most of the 12 Muslim men on trial were arrested in highly-publicised police raids in November 2005, just days after then prime minister John Howard declared there was an imminent terrorist threat and recalled the Senate for an emergency session to push through far-reaching amendments to the anti-terrorism laws.

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Algerian facing deportation to torture wins court battle

posted on July 02, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Press Release Source: Amnesty International URL: [link] Date: June 27, 2008

Amnesty International welcomes the decision by the Slovak Constitutional Court on 26 June 2008 in the case of Mustapha Labsi, which reaffirms the absolute duty on the authorities not to send any person to any place where they face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment, and underscores the obligation of Slovakia not to rely on diplomatic assurances. More details here.


British MPs approve hotly debated terror bill

posted on June 15, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Helen Kinsella
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: N/A
Date: June 12, 2008


LONDON -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown escaped defeat by a hair's breadth in a packed House of Commons yesterday over controversial plans to allow police to detain suspected terrorists for as long as 42 days without charge.

Backing for the Counter-Terrorism Bill, which the government had said was necessary to deal with the increasing complexity and ruthlessness of terrorist plots, will come as some measure of relief to the embattled leader, who has suffered a series of blows in recent months.

Mr. Brown's authority, however, remains in question after he was forced to go into persuasion overdrive and ultimately rely on the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to ensure victory, with the final count at 315 to 306.

With several Labour backbenchers threatening to defy the government over what they saw as an infringement of civil liberties, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had announced a number of amendments in the lead-up to the vote. They included the requirement for an "exceptional and grave" terrorist threat, and parliamentary authorization within seven days of an application.

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Terror Suspects Win Battle Against Deportation

posted on April 18, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink

by Nigel Morris
Source: The Independent (UK)
URL: N/A
Date: April 10, 2008


The Government's anti-terror strategy suffered a blow yesterday when Abu Qatada, a preacher described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", won a court battle to stay in Britain.

The Home Office was also forced to abandon plans to deport 12 Libyans suspected of terrorism after the Court of Appeal gave a damning verdict on promises they would not be tortured in their home country.

Tony Blair laid plans to expel terror suspects after the July 7 London bombings by negotiating "memorandums of understanding" (MoUs) with Middle Eastern and north African countries that they would not be harmed. But the policy is in ruins after the court blocked deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordan and of two Libyans.

Britain signed MoUs with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon in 2005, but has struggled to reach agreement with Algeria, the home country for several terror suspects.

Abu Qatada has been convicted of terrorism in his absence in Jordan. He has been in jail in Britain since 2001 as the UK seeks to deport him. But the court registered fears yesterday that evidence that might he used against him in Jordan would be obtained by torture. It also backed the appeals of two Libyans – AS and DD – on the basis that the Government failed to give enough weight to the risk of torture.

Abu Qatada remains in custody as the Home Office contemplates a new appeal against the court decision.

The pressure group Human Rights Watch said: "These cases show the Government should stop trying to deport people to countries whose justice systems are deeply tainted by torture and other abuses."

Source: The Independent

Britain's Law Lords Capitulate on Control Orders

posted on November 21, 2007 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Andy Worthington Source: Counterpunch.org URL: [link] Date: November 2, 2007 Britain's Law Lords Capitulate on Control Orders Guantánamo as House Arrest

Imagine being picked up by the police, taken to a maximum security prison, and held for years -- indefinitely, for all you know -- without being told what it is that you're supposed to have done. Sounds familiar? If you substitute "soldiers" for "the police," it sounds like Guantánamo, or Bagram, or Abu Ghraib. But it's not. It's Belmarsh prison, in south east London. Three years ago, in December 2004, after 17 men, captured and held as described above, had already been imprisoned in Belmarsh for at least three years without charge and without the prospect of a trial, Britain's law lords ruled that this kind of detention was in breach of human rights law. In response, the government introduced a new form of detention without charge or trial. Under the control orders introduced in spring 2005, the eleven Belmarsh prisoners who were still in detention were allowed to return home, but were subjected to a range of measures which severely restricted their liberty.

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Security hearings called "Kafkaesque" (UK)

posted on August 01, 2007 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Peter Griffiths
Source: Reuters via Yahoo News
URL: [link]
Date: July 30, 2007


LONDON (Reuters) - Terrorism suspects held under virtual house arrest in Britain suffer "Kafkaesque" treatment in special courts that review secret evidence against them, a committee of legislators said on Monday.
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The committee's report said "no right-minded person" would think the suspects had a fair hearing when they often had no idea of the case against them.

It likened the system to the Star Chamber, a secretive and oppressive English court abolished in 1641.

"This is a process that is offensive both to the basic principles of natural justice as we know it and to British ideas of fair play," said Andrew Dinsmore, chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The law allows suspects who cannot be prosecuted in the courts to be held under a loose form of house arrest known as a "control order". These are scrutinised in special tribunals.

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Law Lords to consider the legality of the control order scheme (UK)

posted on July 18, 2007 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Press Release
Source: Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust
URL: [link]
Date: July 4, 2007

A six-day hearing into the legality of the controversial control order scheme will begin in the House of Lords tomorrow. The Law Lords will consider if control orders, by which a suspect's freedom is severely curtailed although he has not been charged or tried in open court, violates the right to liberty and a fair trial.

James Welch, Liberty's Legal Director who led Liberty's intervention in the case, said:

"Punishing people and their families without trial makes a mockery of British justice. Labelling people as terrorists and leaving them in the community makes a mockery of security. Only charges, evidence and proof will protect our lives and our way of life in the long-term."

Liberty has called the control order scheme "unsafe" and "unfair" because seven of the 17 suspects on control orders have absconded and several lower court judges have deemed the scheme to be unlawful.

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23 killed in Algeria bombings

posted on April 12, 2007 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Associated Press
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: April 11, 2007

ALGIERS, Algeria – Bombs heavily damaged the prime minister's office and a police station Wednesday, killing at least 23 people and wounding about 160, the country's official news agency said. Al-Qaida's wing in North Africa claimed responsibility.

Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, who was unhurt, called the attack a "cowardly, criminal terrorist act" as he spoke to reporters outside his wrecked offices.

The attacks were a devastating setback for the North African country's efforts to close the chapter on its Islamic insurgency that has killed 200,000 people. After years of relative calm, the al-Qaida affiliate recently has recently waged several smaller attacks in the oil- and gas-rich country.

According to Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, a spokesman for al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were carried out by three suicide bombers in trucks packed with explosives. The spokesman said the bombers targeted three sites: the government headquarters in Algiers and the Interpol offices and a special police forces building in the suburb of Bab Ezzouar.

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Algeria to try deported terror suspects

posted on February 26, 2007 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Clare Dyer Source: The Guurdian Unlimited (UK) URL: [link],,2021566,00.html Date: February 26, 2007 Two assured in Britain they would not be charged Both withdrew appeals against being sent back

Two Algerian terror suspects who were deported to their homeland last month have been arrested, imprisoned and charged with terrorist activities, despite being assured by Algerian officials in Britain they would face no criminal proceedings. One of them, known as H, withdrew his appeal against deportation after a British official told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in a statement: "The British government has absolutely no reason to believe that H will be arrested or otherwise detained for a prolonged period of time if deported to Algeria." But his legal advisers and Amnesty International now say they fear he will have to face an unfair trial using evidence obtained by torture. The development casts doubt on the government's argument that assurances from Algeria can be relied on and suspects can be safely deported, even though the country has refused to enter into a memorandum of understanding guaranteeing their human rights.

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