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UK court criticizes US refusal to disclose torture evidence

23-10-2008

London, (IRNA):

Two High Court judges have criticized as "deeply disturbing" the refusal by the US to disclose evidence that could prove a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay was tortured before confessing to terrorism offenses.

There was "no rational basis" for the American failure to reveal the contents of documents essential to the defence of Binyam Mohamed, who faces the death penalty, Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Lloyd Jones said.

Claims by Mohamed's lawyers that the US was refusing to release the papers because "torturers do not readily hand over evidence of their conduct" could not be dismissed and required an answer, the judge said.

The 30-year-old Ethiopian national, who is the only remaining British resident held in Guantanamo Bay, is seeking evidence to be released by both US and UK authorities as part of his defence in charges brought against him.

He reportedly was first held in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer, before he was secretly rendered to Morocco, where he says he was tortured.

The US subsequently flew him to Afghanistan and later transferred him to Guantanamo in 2004.

According to the Guardian newspaper Thursday, the judges said they were unaware of any precedent for such serious allegations against "the government of a foreign friendly state and our oldest and closest ally" as those made in this case.

The US had not provided any explanation for its conduct, though it had had "ample time" to do so, they said before suspending proceedings in London Wednesday pending a case in the US courts, where defence lawyers are also trying to force disclosure.


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