Binyam Mohamed's supporters press for torture evidence

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The Independent US

Releasing Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay will not end his supporters' campaign to prove he was tortured while in US custody.

The detainee's lawyers are quick to praise the British Government's efforts to have him freed from the controversial American military detention centre.

But they are highly critical of moves by the US and UK authorities to keep secret documents that shed light on how he was treated.

Mr Mohamed's case has come to be about much more than just securing his return to Britain.

For campaigners it stands for all the alleged abuses of human rights and international law laid at Washington's door during the "war on terror".

They also say it highlights the role played by the UK in facilitating, if not actually carrying out, these abuses.

The Government has taken these allegations seriously.

In October, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith asked Attorney General Baroness Scotland to consider whether any crimes were committed in Mr Mohamed's treatment.

No decision has been made so far, and the detainee's legal team has suggested that Labour peer Baroness Scotland is not the right person to make an impartial judgment on whether any British MI5 agents should be the subject of a police investigation.

The Attorney General has stressed that she is acting "wholly independently of Government and in the public interest".

Meanwhile, Mr Mohamed's lawyers are still trying to gain access to 42 key documents in his case through a drawn-out battle in the American and British courts.

They believe the secret papers support his claim that he only confessed to terrorist activities after suffering months of torture.

Last August two High Court judges - Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones - ruled that the British security services had participated in his unlawful interrogation.

Then in October the judges said there was a "clear evidential basis" for accusations that the US government was doing "all it could" to avoid disclosing the 42 documents.

Referring to "delays and unexplained changes of course" on the part of the American authorities, they said the papers were "essential" to the detainee's defence.

But they concluded that a US court was best-placed to resolve the issues.

On 4 February the same two judges ruled on an application by the media for seven paragraphs summarising evidence about Mr Mohamed's treatment, which were cut from an earlier judgment, to be made public.

They decided not to release the information because the US had apparently threatened to withdraw cooperation over terrorist intelligence.

In a strongly-worded ruling the judges expressed surprise that a "democracy governed by the rule of law" like the US would expect a court in another democracy to "suppress" a summary of evidence relating to torture allegations, "politically embarrassing though it might be".

Mr Mohamed's legal team are now trying to have the High Court judgment reopened on the grounds that it was based on "misleading evidence" provided by the Government.

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