Party accused of hypocrisy for rejecting Darfur film

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Indy Politics

The Labour Party was accused of hypocrisy when it emerged conference delegates had been denied the chance to see a hard-hitting advertisement which suggested that the Home Office was sending Darfur refugees back to Sudan to face torture. The Labour Party said that the film had not been shown because it distorted the facts but the film-makers insisted the facts it contained were true.

The Aegis Trust, which campaigns against genocide, had prepared the 42-second advertisement for display on the closed circuit television screens around the Bournemouth conference centre. The disputed film contained footage of Sadiq Adam Osman, the last Darfuri sent back to Khartoum by the Home Office, who was later rescued by the Aegis Trust. It shows the scars inflicted on him by his torturers.

On 4 October, the House of Lords will hear a Home Office appeal in a test case involving three Darfuris who face deportation. The High Court ruled that they should be allowed to stay in the UK because the conditions awaiting them in the Sudan would be "unduly harsh".

David Brown, of Aegis Trust, said: "There is a very strong point to be made here about hypocrisy. After the fine words from Gordon Brown, and actions, I'm not sure that he is completely across what is going on in the Home Office. If he knew, I think he would be pretty pissed off."

The Labour Party denied there was a ban on showing ads that criticised the Government – and pointed to a CND ad opposing Labour's nuclear weapons policy that was being shown daily.

A spokesman said: "It would be wrong to screen an advert that in our view misrepresents and distorts the facts. The Labour Party's commitment to the people of Darfur is total."

Dr James Smith, the chief executive of the Aegis Trust said: "The Aegis Trust stands by every word of appalling truth in this advertisement."

Yesterday delegates gave a rousing reception to a Darfur refugee, Ikhlass Mohammed Ibrahim, who said the region "desperately" needed the promised UN force. The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, promised the people of Darfur "we won't let you down", echoing Gordon Brown's Darfur pledge the previous day.

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