Government to consider prosecutions over Binyam Mohamed rendition

Press release from Reprieve

Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day, who represent British resident Binyam Mohamed, are pleased to announce that the British government has referred Mr. Mohamed's case to the Attorney General, requesting a full investigation of his torture and rendition by the CIA, with a view to bringing prosecutions against the perpetrators of these crimes where appropriate.

On October 28, the Treasury Solicitor wrote to the judges presiding over Mr. Mohamed’s case against the UK government in the High Court:

We write to inform the Court that the question of possible criminal wrongdoing to which these proceedings has given rise has been referred by the Home Secretary to the Attorney general for consideration as an independent minister of justice. To that end the Home Secretary has sent the Attorney General:

  1. the open and closed judgment handed down by the Court thus far
  2. the transcripts (open and closed) of the cross examination of Witness A
  3. the open and closed written arguments and evidence of the parties and the Special Advocates
  4. the PII Certificates of the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary with their associated documents and sensitive schedules

"This is a welcome recognition that the CIA cannot just go rendering British residents to secret torture chambers without any consequences, and British agents cannot take part in American crimes without facing the music," said Reprieve director, Clive Stafford Smith. "Reprieve will be making submissions to the Attorney General to ensure that those involved in these crimes – from the US, Pakistan, Morocco, Britain, and elsewhere – are held responsible."

"Ultimately the British Government had little choice in the matter, once they conceded that a case had been made out that Binyam Mohamed was tortured," said Richard Stein of Leigh Day. "The Convention Against Torture rightly imposes an obligation on signatory states to investigate cases of torture, and we look forward to a full and open airing of the crimes committed against Mr. Mohamed and a thorough investigation by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service into this case."

Reprieve has long maintained that the entire case against Mr. Mohamed should be dropped by the US Government, and that he should be returned to the UK, as the British Government requested in August 2007. Mr. Mohamed is a victim of "extraordinary rendition" and torture. He was first held illegally in Pakistan for three months, where a British agent interrogated him; he was then sent to Morocco by the CIA on July 21, 2002 and savagely tortured for 18 months; he was then rendered to the secret "Dark Prison” in Afghanistan, where his torture continued. Since September 2004, he has been held in Guantánamo Bay where, last week, the Pentagon dropped charges against him, albeit promising to refile them after the election. All the supposed "evidence" against him is the fruit of torture, and would be inadmissible in any court other than a US Military Commission.