International

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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Revealed: Over 100 Prisons identified worldwide for illegal detention

posted on December 14, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Orignal author: PRESS RELEASE Source: Cageprisoners Email Listserv URL: Date: December 13, 2006 Revealed: Over 100 Prisons identified worldwide for illegal detention in ‘War on Terror’

Disappearances in the War on Terror have formed an integral part of the Bush administration’s programme of secret detention. This latest report by Cageprisoners: Beyond the Law: The War on Terror’s Secret Network of Global Detentions, highlights the wide-reaching extent of those countries that house these detainees, generally at the behest of the US government. The report shows that out of the 120 prisons identified worldwide, 72 have been, or are currently being used by the US to interrogate detainees. By piecing together statements of released detainees, work of investigative journalists and human rights organisations, we provide the most definitive and up to date list of prisons used in the ‘War on Terror.’ Commenting on the findings of the report, Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrote, “…Cageprisoners publishes a comprehensive report which reveals the systematic practice of enforced disappearances in a global network of secret places of detention.” Further the Chair of the British Institute of Human Rights, Geoffrey Bindman, states that in the policies of the War on Terror, “This report is directed at one glaringly disgraceful element in that strategy: the detention without charge or trial and the physical abuse of those suspected of involvement in terrorism.” The release of the report aims to catalyse the process of bringing transparency to a situation deliberately shrouded in obscurity. Deliberately denying prisoners access to open courts or any semblance of justice, whilst being tortured and coerced into giving false confessions is not befitting of any civilised society. It is imperative that transparency swiftly be brought to this process, so that the innocent can pick up the remains of their shattered lives and be returned to their loved ones. The report consists of a list of detention facilities, an accompanying document to explain the terms and provide analysis of the findings, and finally a map, pinpointing the network of ghost detention sites worldwide: Beyond the Law – Report: www.cageprisoners.com/beyondthelaw.pdf

Beyond the Law – List of Prisons: www.cageprisoners.com/beyondthelaw_prisonlist.pdf

Beyond the Law – Map of Global Network: www.cageprisoners.com/beyondthelaw_map.pdf



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BBC Poll: One-third support 'some torture'

posted on October 22, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Nearly a third of people worldwide back the use of torture in prisons in some circumstances, a BBC survey suggests.

Although 59% were opposed to torture, 29% thought it acceptable to use some degree of torture to combat terrorism.

While most polled in the US are against torture, opposition there is less robust than in Europe and elsewhere.

More than 27,000 people in 25 countries were asked if torture would be acceptable if it could provide information to save innocent lives.

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Australian court overturns terrorist conviction based on torture

posted on August 22, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: David Taylor and Mike Head
Source: World Socialist Web site
URL: [link]
Date: August 22, 2006

In a serious blow to the Howard government, a Full Bench of the Victorian Supreme Court last Friday quashed the “terrorist” convictions against a young Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas. The ruling was based on the fact that the confession Thomas gave to police was illegally obtained in a Pakistani jail through torture and coercion by Pakistani, US and Australian authorities.

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Amnesty calls for end to Algeria abuse

posted on July 12, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Agencies
Source: Aljazeera.Net
URL: [link]
Date: July 10, 2006

[Thanks to Khalid and Sophie for passing this on to me... - Brian]

Amnesty International has condemned the continuing use of torture by the Algerian security services.

The human rights group said on Monday that Algeria's intelligence agency, the Department of Information and Security, or DRS, is using the war on terror as an excuse to perpetuate torture and ill-treatment.

The rights group issued its 44-page report before Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president, visits London on Tuesday.

"Recent measures taken by the Algerian authorities with the stated intention of consolidating 'national reconciliation' have failed to address this grim legacy," it said.

The most common means of abuse, it said, include beatings, electric shocks, and "chiffon" - the forced drinking of dirty water, urine or chemicals through a cloth stuffed into a detainee's mouth.

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Judge brands control orders 'unlawful' (UK)

posted on June 29, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Simon Freeman
Source: The Times Online (UK)
URL: [link],,2-2247622,00.html
Date: June 28, 2006


A cornerstone of the Government's security policy was thrown into doubt today after a High Court judge ruled the use of control orders on terrorist suspects to be unlawful.

In a ruling that instantly re-ignited the feud between the Government and the judiciary, Mr Justice Jeremy Sullivan said that powers enshrined by the orders were so severe that they amounted to a deprivation of liberty without a trial and, as such, breached European human rights legislation.

Quashing orders against six men - one British citizen and five Iraqis referred to only by initials - he told the High Court in London: "The [Home Secretary] had no power to make the orders and they must therefore all be quashed."

Control orders were introduced in April last year after the courts rejected post-September 11 emergency powers allowing police to imprison suspected foreign terrorists indefinitely without trial.

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U.N.: U.S. should close Guantanamo prison

posted on May 19, 2006 | in Category International | PermaLink

Original author: Associated Press Source: MSNBC URL: [link] Date: May 19, 2006 U.N.: U.S. should close Guantanamo prison Panel urges U.S. to 'eradicate' torture, stop using secret detention facilities

GENEVA - The United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in its war on terror, a U.N. panel report released Friday said. In an 11-page report on its review of U.S. adherence to the Treaty Against Torture, the committee said detainees should not be returned to any state where they could face a “real risk” of being tortured. "The state party should cease to detain any person at Guantanamo Bay and close the detention facility," said the U.N. Committee Against Torture, a panel of 10 independent experts on adherence to the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

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