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UN Renditions Report: 'Stop burying evidence' message to UK government

Responding to today’s “Joint Study” report by two United Nations Special Rapporteurs and the Working Groups on Arbitrary Detention and on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Today’s report is just the latest to shed light on the murky business of the UK’s complicity with the secret rendition programme.

“What we now need is a change of policy from our government and an end to its repeated attempts to bury information on rendition.

“Instead of thwarting efforts to discover whether UK officials were part of a programme to kidnap, secretly imprison and even torture ‘war on terror’ detainees, any responsible government must now allow a full, independent investigation into this crucial issue.

“It shouldn’t just be left to bodies like the United Nations to investigate the UK’s role in rendition - we should be doing it for ourselves.”

Amnesty International has published several reports on US-led “extraordinary rendition” flights, including numerous flights that have landed at UK and Irish airports. In 2006, Amnesty International published a report showing how four CIA aircraft “rendered” prisoners to illegal detention and torture while using UK airports as a “refuelling hub”.

Though it is not thought that detainees were on the planes at the time they entered UK airspace, these aircraft nevertheless landed at numerous UK airports in the UK - including Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick, Edinburgh, Londonderry, Belfast and Oxford Brize Norton - regardless of the fact that their mission was in direct contravention of international laws over kidnapping and “disappearance”.

This week Amnesty also wrote to the Lithuanian Prosecutor General urging him to open a criminal investigation into allegations that secret detention facilities existed on Lithuanian territory from 2003 to 2005. Meanwhile, in the same context, Amnesty continues to campaign against enforced disappearance in Pakistan, and the secret or prolonged incommunicado detention of “'security suspects” in Saudi Arabia and those accused of involvement in terrorism-related activities in Tunisia.

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