Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Question for experts in British jurisprudence: based on the ruling below, is it legal to murder your husband if you hire a foreigner to do it? From the Guardian:
Appeal court judges yesterday defied human rights campaigners by ruling that British courts could use evidence extracted under torture, as long as British agents were not complicit in the abuse.
In a highly controversial judgment, the second highest court in the land rejected the appeals of 10 men suspected of having links to international terrorism and currently held without charge in what activists call "Britain's Guantánamo Bay" . . . .
Last night Amnesty International criticised the judges for giving a "green light for torture". It said: "The rule of law and human rights have become casualties of the measures taken in the aftermath of September 11. This judgment is an aberration, morally and legally."
The decision comes just a week after three British men formerly held in Guantánamo Bay described how after ill treatment they had confessed to meeting up with Osama bin Laden when in fact all three had alibis, confirmed by British security services, that they were in the UK at the time.
Ellie Smith, a human rights lawyer at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, said: "It is really dangerous and very worrying that any court is willing to use any evidence that has been obtained through use of torture or ill treatment."
The decision to allow evidence from foreign torture was tantamount to contracting out the torture. "We have seen recent instances where the US forces have sent people to other countries for the purpose of extracting evidence," she added . . . .
Britain is a signatory to the European convention on human rights which enshrines a series of fundamental rights, including "freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment".
Facilitating torture else where is also illegal under the convention against torture to which the UK is committed.
The lawyer for two other men, Natalia Garcia, said that human rights had become "a casualty of the so-called war on terror". She added: "We have sunk to an all-time low where a court can even contemplate that evidence obtained under torture could be admissible and where there is no attempt to provide any effective remedy against abuse of power.