Family fails in Yemen trial plea

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The Independent Online
THE FAMILY of one of the Britons facing terrorism charges in Yemen failed in a legal attempt yesterday to force the British Government to intervene in his trial.

Rambi de Mello, appearing for the family of Shahid Butt, asked the High Court in London for permission to seek court orders forcing the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, to contact the President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, over the issue. He accused Mr Cook of unreasonably refusing to make "timely and appropriate" representations on behalf of Mr Butt. He argued that the trial of Mr Butt and seven other Britons on charges including forming an armed group had been prejudiced after confessions were obtained through torture.

But Mr Justice Lightman refused the application for permission to seek judicial review. He said: "It is to be noted that this country... would regard it as scandalous and an affront if a foreign state sought to interfere in the conduct of a trial in this country. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office perfectly reasonably and properly adopts the view that the UK should display like restraint in respect of proceedings abroad."

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