British government must release names of unidentified Bagram rendition victims Commentary
British government must release names of unidentified Bagram rendition victims
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Clare Algar [Executive Director, Reprieve]: "It is really extraordinary that the British government is relying on the Data Protection Act to avoid disclosing the identities of those in whose renditions it was complicit. Imagine, if you will, a kidnapper who admits to a kidnap but refuses to identify the victim of the kidnap. The position is ludicrous. It is just not good enough for our Defence Secretary, having repeatedly said that British troops were not involved in any rendition process, to say that in fact, British forces did hand over 2 men to US forces in 2004, who were then rendered to Bagram, who remain in Bagram today, but whose identity he will not disclose.

I believe that, eventually, our government will be forced to disclose the names of the two individuals illegally rendered to Bagram with UK complicity. Once this happens, Reprieve will be able to obtain authorisation to act for these men from their family members and reunite them with the rule of law.

It looks as though Guantánamo Bay will close, although whether it closes to deadline remains to be seen. Bagram is Guantanamo's lesser known twin — it has recently been expanded to hold 1,600 people, rather than its previous 600. Conditions in Bagram are worse than in Guantanamo and there is incredibly limited access to legal representation. The information we are currently demanding from the British government will allow us to represent the two men in question and thus begin to bring the rule of law to Bagram. This will in fact make our troops in Afghanistan safer, as it will mean that the West is less likely to be perceived to be behaving unjustly, and is a crucial task if democracy and stability is to be brought to the country."

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