Annual Report: United Kingdom 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: United Kingdom 2010

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  • In June, the Law Lords applied the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights (see above) and allowed the appeals of three individuals, referred to as "AF", "AN" and "AE", against the imposition of "control orders", finding that it had breached their right to a fair hearing. The Law Lords ruled unanimously that sufficient disclosure must be given to "AF", "AN" and "AE". The judgement ruled that people subjected to "control orders" had to be given sufficient information about the allegations against them to enable them to mount an effective defence, and that, where the case against the "controlee" was based solely or to a decisive degree on closed materials, fair trial standards would not be met.
  • In August, Mahmoud Abu Rideh, a stateless Palestinian who was originally interned in December 2001 under powers enacted in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks in the USA and then made subject to a "control order" since March 2005, said that he could no longer stay in the UK and wished to leave. Following the threat of legal proceedings, the government agreed to provide him with a certificate of travel that permitted him to leave and re-enter the UK for up to five years. Nonetheless, almost as soon as Mahmoud Abu Rideh had left the country, the government cancelled his certificate of travel, and ordered his permanent exclusion from the UK.

Armed forces in Iraq

In June, the European Court of Human Rights declared partly admissible the application lodged against the UK on behalf of Faisal Attiyah Nassar Al-Saadoon and Khalaf Hussain Mufdhi, two Iraqi nationals. They were arrested and detained in 2003 in Iraq in UK-run detention facilities. In December 2008, they were transferred to Iraqi custody despite substantial grounds for believing that they were at risk of being subjected to an unfair trial before the Iraq High Tribunal followed by execution, and in spite of the European Court of Human Rights' interim measures indicating that the UK government should not transfer them to the Iraqi authorities until further notice.

In May, ruling against the government, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales confirmed that UK soldiers on military service in Iraq were entitled to benefit from the rights guaranteed by the Human Rights Act 1998.

  • At the end of the year, a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the circumstances surrounding the death of BahaMousa was ongoing.He died at a UK-run detention facility in Iraq in September 2003, having been tortured by UK troops over a period of 36 hours.

In November, the government announced a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the case of Khuder al-Sweady and five other Iraqi men. Among other things, the case concerns complaints that Khuder al-Sweady was murdered and five other Iraqis were tortured or otherwise ill-treated by UK soldiers while being detained in Iraq in 2004.

Legal developments

In November, parliament passed the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. It gave the executive powers to order the suspension of a coroner's inquest and institute instead an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, maintaining that the latter would be adequate to investigate the cause of death.