Binyam torture ban reassessment
Saturday 09 May 2009
Lawyers for former terror detainee Binyam Mohamed yesterday welcomed a High Court decision to reconsider a ruling which bans the disclosure of his alleged torture at the hands of US and Pakistani intelligence services with the collusion of British agents.
Last year Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones withheld from publication seven short paragraphs summarising US Government reports on Mr Mohamed's treatment, which were central to his claim that he was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with the consent of UK authorities.
The decision to redact part of their judgment was based on statements by lawyers for David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, that disclosure might compromise the UK's intelligence-sharing relationship with the US, which was opposed to publication even under President Obama.
But Mr Mohamed's lawyers said at a hearing last month it had since become clear from statements by Mr Miliband and others that the US had not threatened to withdraw intelligence co-operation.
The supposed threat was not based on any contact with the Obama government or any knowledge as to whether or not his administration would maintain the position adopted under President George W Bush.
Foreign Office lawyers apologised for its unintentional failure to correct the misunderstanding, but insisted permission to disclose US intelligence material must come from the US.
The judges have yet to give reasons for their decision. It is still over for Mr Miliband to challenge it.
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