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UK court gives government another week to answer Guantanamo evidence demand

[JURIST] London's High Court Friday gave UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband [official profile] a week to defend his office's refusal [FCO press release] earlier this month to turn over documents relating to the alleged extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] and torture of Binyam Mohamed [Reprieve profile], the last British resident still detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The High Court ruled [PDF, judgment; JURIST report] last week that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) [official website] must turn over evidence [Independent report] that is "essential" to Mohamed's defense that information against him was obtained through torture. The FCO refused to turn over the information, citing national security issues. Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 on accusations that he conspired to assist al Qaeda in attacking civilians. A decision on whether the High Court will force the disclosure of the material is set for September. BBC News has more. The Guardian has additional coverage.

Mohamed asserts that after he was arrested in Pakistan, he was turned over to US officials who then transferred him to Moroccan agents who tortured him; he was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2004. In December, in a letter [DOC, text] sent by his lawyer to Miliband, he asked the UK government [JURIST report] to ensure that photographic evidence of his alleged torture be preserved. For most of 2007, Binyam was one of five UK residents detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Three of those were released [press release; JURIST report] from US custody in December. The official status of a fourth detainee remains unclear.

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