Are we really expected to believe 13-year-old national security information justifies ‘secret’ court hearing?

The two Pakistani men at the centre of the case claim they were held in the Bagram detainee centre in Afghanistan for 10 years [Image: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters].

It is easy to see why the Conservative Government would want to keep this case quiet – from one point of view.

The two men at the centre of the case were initially detained during the Blair Labour government – but the UK’s part in it continued through the Cameron Coalition, meaning the Tories are complicit in whatever happened.

If the UK government is innocent of any wrongdoing, then it is harder to understand why a secret hearing is required.

The Tories say the case will include information that may affect national security – but these are men who lost their freedom 13 years ago; any effect on national security now is likely to be negligible because the world has changed hugely since then.

So we must ask: What is really going on here?

The government has been accused of attempting to bury the truth about Britain’s role in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition process by seeking to have a case, brought by two men detained by the US, heard in secret.

It is the first time that a civil claim involving extraordinary rendition will be heard in such a way.

The new case, to be heard in the high court on Tuesday, centres on two Pakistani men the UK handed over to American forces in 2004. The US then rendered the pair to Afghanistan and secretly detained them in Bagram for a decade without charge, trial or access to a lawyer. They claim that they were tortured throughout their ordeal until they were eventually released to Pakistan in 2014.

“For years, ministers made false statements about their involvement in torture and rendition until they were forced to admit the government’s complicity in this sordid affair,” said Omran Belhadi, a lawyer with Reprieve, which is helping the two men bring their case.

“Now they are trying to use secret courts to keep the full truth buried. With a torture apologist now in the White House, it’s more important than ever that the government recognises the horrific mistakes of the Blair years and ensures … it never happens again. Instead, the official dissembling continues.”

Source: Anger as government applies for secret hearing of rendition case

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2 thoughts on “Are we really expected to believe 13-year-old national security information justifies ‘secret’ court hearing?

  1. Dan Delion

    This is an atrocious distortion of the UK standards of justice that I grew up under in the last century. The use of secret courts in such circumstances beggars belief that the Tories ever intended any of their dubious actions to be exposed to ‘open and transparent’ independent assessment. They and their tawdry government are not fit for purpose and should depart now.

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