Annual Report: United Kingdom 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: United Kingdom 2010

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  • In February, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national formerly residing in the UK, was released from US custody at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he had been held since 2004, and returned to the UK. He had been detained in Pakistan in April 2002 and then transported under the US-led rendition programme to Morocco, then to Afghanistan, and then on to Guantánamo Bay. The US government did not dispute that his treatment amounted to torture or other illtreatment. UK judges ruled repeatedly during the year that the UK government should disclose what the US Central Intelligence Agency told the UK's Security Service (MI5) and what the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) knew of the unlawful treatment of Binyam Mohamed. They also made clear that "the relationship of the United Kingdom Government to the United States authorities in connection with [Binyam Mohamed] was far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing." The UK government's appeal against the disclosure rulings was pending at the end of the year. In March it was announced that the police would begin an investigation into the allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing.
  • By the end of the year, Shaker Aamer, a Saudi Arabian national, was the only known remaining former UK resident still held in Guantánamo Bay. Following his capture in Afghanistan he had been detained by US military authorities in various locations and ultimately in Guantánamo Bay. In December, the High Court of England and Wales ordered the UK authorities to disclose certain documents to support his case that any confessions he might have made during his detention had been induced by ill-treatment by US and UK officials, thereby discrediting such confessions and improving his prospects of release.
  • In February, the government admitted that, contrary to earlier statements, two individuals captured by UK forces in Iraq in 2004 and transferred to US detention had subsequently been moved to a US detention facility in Afghanistan. The US government categorized them as "unlawful enemy combatants". There was concern that efforts to identify them were being hampered by the UK government.

In December, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition began legal proceedings in the USA, requesting disclosure from various US security agencies about the UK's role in the US-led rendition programme. This included the unlawful transfer of two people through the UK territory of Diego Garcia, and the handover in Iraq by UK special forces to US forces of other individuals who were then flown to Afghanistan.

Deportations

Attempts continued to deport individuals alleged to pose a threat to "national security" to countries where they would be at risk of grave human rights violations, including torture. The government continued to argue that "diplomatic assurances" were sufficient to reduce the risk they would face.