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Government looks to defend torture claims with secret evidence

Unprecedented move by Government to introduce ‘closed procedures’ in torture case

Binyam Mohamed photo: BBC

26 October 2009

Guantanamo detainees, including Binyam Mohamed, launched a series of civil claims against the British Government in 2008 in order to hold the Government to account for alleged complicity in their torture in various detention centres around the world, including Guantanamo Bay. A three day hearing starts at the High Court in London before Mr Justice Silber on 27 October 2009 that will consider an unprecedented ‘preliminary issue’ about whether the Government defendants can rely on secret evidence in defending the claims in the ordinary civil courts.

The defendants will argue that the High Court should introduce ‘closed procedures’ for the first time for the hearing of evidence in these claims. In the past governments who claim “public interest immunity” for documents in the civil courts have not been allowed to rely on them. If these arguments are successful it will mean that the detainees, their lawyers and the public will be unable to hear the evidence that the defendants would rely on in their defence of the serious allegations they face.

By their actions the Government is seeking to overturn centuries of legal precedent; side step the legislative role of Parliament; and rewrite the Civil Rules of Procedure.

Sapna Malik of Leigh Day & Co, acting for Binyam Mohamed said:

“That the Government is seeking to introduce such unconstitutional and manifestly unfair measures by the backdoor only serves to further raise suspicions about what they are trying to hide.”

For more information please contact Sapna Malik on 020 7650 1222.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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