UK: Notorious rendition-to-torture case allowed to go to trial
Today’s decision of the Court of Appeal in London permitting a lawsuit regarding illegal transfer, torture and other ill-treatment to proceed puts the onus on the UK government to answer allegations for its role in a notorious rendition case, Amnesty International said. Abdul Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar, a married couple, demand justice for their abduction in 2004 and their illegal transfer to Libya where they were detained, tortured and ill-treated at the hands of the US and Libyan governments, with the knowledge and cooperation of UK officials. “The government argued that UK officials should not be held responsible for their involvement in human rights violations, including torture, as long as such illegal acts were committed in cooperation with a foreign government and outside the UK. The Appeals Court rightly rejected this argument,” said John Dalhuisen, director of Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia programme. “By permitting this case to go to trial, the Court has ruled that the UK government must answer allegations of serious human rights violations. Perpetrators of these acts must be held to account and the victims of these violations must have access to justice.” “This is a significant ruling and the right one. States must not be allowed to obscure their complicity in torture with appeals to legal doctrines designed to preserve good relations between states. Today’s judgment sets the stage for some real accountability in the UK, which has been far too long in coming.” Amnesty International had intervened in the case, jointly with the International Commission of Jurists, JUSTICE, and REDRESS.