Former Lib Dem leader said the same thing as Jeremy Corbyn about Bin Laden's killing

Paddy Ashdown described the execution as 'wholly, wholly, wholly wrong'

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A former leader of the Liberal Democrats made similar comments about the killing of Osama Bin Laden to those made by Jeremy Corbyn, it has emerged.

After Mr Bin Laden’s death Paddy Ashdown appeared on BBC’s Question Time programme and described the Al Qaeda leader’s “execution” without a trial as “wholly, wholly, wholly wrong”.

The comparison between Lord Ashdown’s comments and Mr Corbyn’s could be embarrassing for the Liberal Democrats, whose current leader Tim Farron branded the Labour leadership frontrunner’s view “utterly wrong”.

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Jeremy Corbyn

“Let me make this very clear: I belong to a country which was founded on the principle of the exercise of the due process of law. I am dedicated to that I have to say to you that it is not a good enough excuse to say that we will not follow due process because it’s too difficult,” the former leader told the programme in May 2011.

“To take that position is to undermine the very principle on which this country stands and to which I am dedicated. If you allow someone to be executed because the due process of law is too difficult to follow, you take a very dangerous step in exactly the wrong direction.”

He later added: “The point that I really objected to was [the] point that he should have been executed. That it seems to me is wholly, wholly, wholly wrong.

“The law is difficult: it’s the law and we should be following it. Are you saying we should not follow the due process because it happens to be uncomfortable?”

Around the same time, Mr Corbyn appeared on Iranian TV channel Press TV to criticise the fact Mr Bin Laden was not put on trial.

He described the fact the US and its allies were “descending deeper and deeper” towards using torture and extra-judicial killings as “a tragedy”.

 

“There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him, to put him on trial, to go through that process,” he said.

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.

“Torture has come back on to the world stage, been canonised virtually into law by Guantanamo and Bagram. Can't we learn some lessons from this? That we are just going to descend deeper and deeper…”

Lord Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats from their creation in 1988 until 1999.

Mr Corbyn’s words were reported again today exclusively by The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers as the Labour leadership contest draws to a close.

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