London resident, Binyam Mohamed, who has been held
by the American military for more than six years without
trial, has now been charged with terrorism-related offences
and will face a US Military Commission and could face
the death penalty.
In a press release by the charity Reprieve
who are representing him:
"Mr. Mohamed faces a military commission in Guantánamo
Bay based exclusively on evidence derived from his torture.
From 21st July 2002 until 21st January 2004, he was
rendered by the CIA to Morocco where he was tortured
with a razor blade to his penis. From January to May
2004, he was tortured further by US military in the
‘Dark Prison’ in Kabul. He now faces a Guantánamo military
commission, characterized by Lord Steyn as a ‘kangaroo
court’ and condemned by all parties in the UK. The British
government holds evidence that could be the key to proving
his innocence. Lawyers for Mr. Mohamed requested that
the government turn this evidence over. The government
lawyers refused, writing that “the UK is under no obligation
under international law to assist foreign courts and
tribunals in assuring that torture evidence is not admitted”"
The BBC's Newsnight
has revealed that earlier this year Foreign Office officials
sent an e-mail to the foreign secretary saying there
were "serious allegations" that Mr Mohamed had been
tortured. They suggested that Britain should ask the
US to investigate, but so far there has been no response.
Mr Mohamed came to Britain as an asylum seeker from
Ethiopia in 1994 when he was 16. His claim was never
finally determined, but he was allowed to remain in
He worked as a caretaker in Kensington, London, but
developed a drug habit which, according to his legal
representatives, was the reason he travelled to Pakistan
and Afghanistan in 2001 to try and resolve his personal
He was stopped in Pakistan the following year as he
tried to return to Britain.
reports that, "The Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather,
chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Guantanamo
Bay, said: "The American government have disgracefully
undermined their own case by allowing Binyam Mohamed
to be subjected to such horrendous abuse.""
"If Binyam Mohamed has committed a crime, then it is
right that he is charged and brought to justice. However,
any trial process must be fair, open and transparent.
Holding people for years on end without charge or trial
breaches every single value that the war on terror purports
Mr Mohamed has also written to Gordon Brown saying
he felt "deeply betrayed" by the UK and "I always
viewed Britain as the country that stood up for human
rights more than any other."
His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve,
said Mr Mohamed was innocent of any allegations relating
to terrorism and added: "We do not ask anyone merely
to accept Mr Mohamed's claims, but we do ask that he
be given an open trial in which to present to a fair
jury and that he be allowed access to the evidence with
which to prove his case."
Mr Mohamed's legal team has instructed lawyers to challenge
the British Government in court over its alleged retention
of evidence that would prove Mr Mohamed had been tortured
and rendered to Morocco.
See also Student
researching al-Qaida tactics held for six days for
downloading manual from US government website, and MI5
accused of colluding in torture of terrorist suspects.
Release (pdf) continues:
Mr. Mohamed’s allegation was found credible by the
Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). The Government
chooses to ignore the ISC’s conclusion: “There is a
reasonable probability that intelligence passed to the
Americans was used in [Binyam Mohamed]’s subsequent
[Moroccan] interrogation.” See Intelligence and Security
Committee Rendition Report (July 2007)."
Richard Stein of Leigh Day & Co solicitors, representing
Mr Mohamed in the proceedings issued in the High Court,
said “Mr Mohamed has been the victim of extraordinary
rendition, horrific torture, years of detention without
trial, all apparently with the assistance of or, at
least, the Nelsonian blindess of the British Government.
It beggars belief that they will not lift a finger to
help a British resident when he may face the death penalty.”
Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley, US Airforce and military defense
counsel for Mr Mohamed, joined the lawyers’ request
for help from the UK government. “I have been charged
with defending Mr. Mohamed to the best of my ability,”
she said. “I cannot pretend that the US military commissions
are fair, but how can we possibly hope to help Mr. Mohamed
if his own government leaves him to his fate?”
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director, has represented
Mr. Mohamed for three years. “The moral compass of this
government seems to have caught a very perverse magnet,”
said Mr. Stafford Smith. “Since when could we criticize
the US for ‘kangaroo courts’ in Guantánamo while simultaneously
leaving Binyam Mohamed to be condemned based on evidence
tortured out of him with a razor blade to his penis?
Abolishing a 10 percent tax rate is one matter; abandoning
our commitment to the Convention Against Torture is
quite something else.”
STOP PRESS..... Los Angeles Times....
critical of Guantanamo war crimes case is dismissed
MIAMI -- A judge hearing a war crimes case at Guantanamo
Bay who publicly expressed frustration with military
prosecutors' refusal to give evidence to the defense
has been dismissed, tribunal officials confirmed Friday........
[Army Col. Peter] Brownback [III]had threatened to
suspend the proceedings against Khadr unless prosecutors
handed over Khadr's medical and interrogation records
since his July 2002 capture in Afghanistan.
Khadr's Navy lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler,
had asked for the records months ago, and Brownback
had ordered the government to produce them.
The lead prosecutor in the Khadr case, Marine Maj.
Jeffrey Groharing, this week reiterated to Brownback
his view that the defense wasn't entitled to the records.
He urged the judge to set a trial date.
Brownback said during an April hearing that he had
been "badgered and beaten and bruised by Maj. Groharing"
to set a date but couldn't do so in good conscience
when the prosecution was withholding evidence.
Brownback revealed in a November 2007 session that
Pentagon officials had made clear they "didn't like"
his decision the previous June to dismiss the Khadr
case for lack of jurisdiction. That ruling was overturned
a few weeks later by a hastily assembled Court of Military
Asked about Brownback's removal, Air Force Capt. Andre
Kok, a tribunal spokesman, said it was "a mutual decision
between Col. Brownback and the Army that he revert to
his retired status when his current active-duty orders
expire in June."
Human rights monitors saw Brownback's dismissal as
indicative of political influence on the tribunal.
"The fact that Judge Brownback has now been taken off
the case, without explanation, creates the appearance
of political meddling and highlights why these commissions
cannot be considered full, fair and independent," said
Jennifer Daskal, senior counter-terrorism counsel for
Human Rights Watch.
"The message of the Pentagon's decision seems to be
that it is unwilling to let judges exercise independence
if it means a ruling against the government," said Jamil
Dakwar, human rights program director for the American
Civil Liberties Union.
The whole LA Times article is here
critical of Guantanamo war crimes case is dismissed