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UK government policies encouraging torture: HRW

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Thursday accused the British government of encouraging torture in a new report [text; summary]. HRW slammed the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair for attempting to lead evidence gained through torture [JURIST report] in court cases; for trying to deport terrorist suspects [JURIST report] to countries known for torture; and for failing to condemn the US for its own alleged use of torture [JURIST report]. In this last respect the report concluded:

This determination not to speak out, nor publicly to press Washington with difficult questions, made it easier for the US to continue this abusive practice. International pressure, together with decisions by the US Supreme Court, helped prompt the White House's September 2006 admission [of secret CIA detention centers]. But Britain has repeatedly avoided opportunities to exert such pressure, and even moved to prevent criticism by others of US secret detention facilities, where torture is known to have been carried out.
Alleging that "diplomatic assurances don't work," the report additionally criticized Britain's policy of securing Memoranda of Understanding [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST report] from countries with poor records on torture in order to send terrorist suspects to those countries. An HRW spokesperson said it is nonetheless not too late for Britain to resume its leadership against torture. AKI has more.

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