Decision to allow secret proceedings in Guantanamo compensation case condemned

Amnesty International has today expressed its deep disappointment after a High Court judge ruled this morning that British intelligence services facing a civil lawsuit over alleged complicity in the ill-treatment of former Guantánamo Bay detainees can be allowed to rely on a secret “closed” procedure.

This degree of secrecy has never before been allowed in a civil case and the seven men at the centre of the case will appeal against the decision to the Court of Appeal.

The seven - Bisher al-Rawi, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Moazzam Begg, Binyam Mohamed, Jamil el-Banna and Martin Mubanga - are all British men or British residents who were imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay as well as in other locations. They are seeking compensation from the British government on the basis that British intelligence forces were complicit in their detention, torture and other mistreatment.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Today the court has missed a crucial opportunity to uphold human rights and the rule of law.

“We still haven’t had anything like a full investigation into how the UK may have been complicit in serious abuses such as kidnapping, secret detention and torture during the ‘war on terror’.

“Today’s ruling means that alleged complicity by the UK authorities is likely to remain hidden, possibly forever.

“Far from guaranteeing security, this unprecedented resort to secrecy only makes it more likely that there will be further abuse in the future.”

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