UK court releases previously withheld section in ex-Guantanamo detainee case

[JURIST] The England and Wales Court of Appeal [official website] on Friday disclosed additional text [judgment, PDF] that was omitted from a previous ruling related to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed [JURIST news archives]. The language in question is critical of British intelligence service MI5 [official website], suggesting that its agents were aware of Mohamed's "mistreatment" while in US custody despite reports to the contrary and questioning the reliability of agents' statements. The court cited "the principles of open justice" in its decision to release the section, which was originally redacted after a senior governmental lawyer reviewed a draft of the judgment and raised concerns about its fairness. Amnesty International UK [advocacy website] welcomed the order and called for additional inquiries [press release] into the British government's involvement with torture.

The language was originally to be included in an order the court issued earlier this month that instructed the government to release seven previously withheld paragraphs [JURIST report] outlining the alleged torture of Mohamed. The court's ruling ended the long-running legal battle to keep the information classified. In December, British government lawyers argued that two UK High Court judges acted irresponsibly when they ruled that the details of the detention must be released [JURIST reports]. This was following an interim ruling [JURIST report] by Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Lloyd Jones that redacted the release. Last November, a separate judge on the High Court ruled that, in Mohamed's separate suit for damages, information relating to his treatment at Guantanamo Bay may be withheld [JURIST report] under a "closed material procedure." Mohamed was returned to the UK in February 2009, after charges against him were dismissed [JURIST reports] in October 2008. Mohamed had been held at Guantanamo Bay for four years on suspicion of conspiracy to commit terrorism [JURIST report].



 

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