Judges were misled over Binyam case say lawyers

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The Independent Online

The Government misled two senior judges over the release of secret torture evidence in the case of the former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, the High Court heard yesterday.

The 30-year-old British resident asked the judges to re-open a previous judgment in which they had agreed to censor part of their findings in the face of a threat to the intelligence-sharing relationship between the Obama and Brown administrations.

Dinah Rose QC, for Mr Mohamed, told Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones that it had since become clear from statements made by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband and others that this was not correct.

The alleged threat from the US to withdraw intelligence co-operation 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 Bush, the court heard.

Last year, the judges reluctantly 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.

Guy Vassall-Adams, for The Independent and other news organisations, said that the Government had been unable to confirm that the threat to future intelligence-sharing operations continued under the Obama administration. He added that the case represented an important test of open justice and called for the release of the seven "redacted" paragraphs.

Mr Vassall-Adams contrasted the British position with that of the Obama government, which had ordered the disclosure of documents detailing torture carried out by the CIA.