Friday :: Dec 9, 2005

Law Lords To Condi - Up Yours!

by pessimist

There may be a reason why Britain is the world's longest-running democracy - their jurists haven't allowed expediency to overrule the rule of law and the respect of the rights of the accused:

The law lords heaped embarrassment on the Government over its anti-terror strategy for the second time in a year as they ruled that evidence obtained by torture should never be used in British courts.

The British equivalent of the Republican Party had this to say about the law lords' decision:

"This judgement appears to be a completely correct restatement of a law that has existed for hundreds of years."

Take THAT, Condi! While you're at it, take THIS also:

“Torture, under any form, is morally repugnant and any association with it only weakens our efforts in the fight against terrorism.
“This is a clear message that our governments must not be allowed to condone or encourage torture or subcontract torture to anyone else in the world” said Terry Davis, Council of Europe Secretary General, in reaction to the decision of the highest judicial body in the United Kingdom which ruled that evidence obtained by torture cannot be used in courts.

I guess that PR trip to the EU to state your bogus case for torture proved only to be an expensive vacation paid for by the US taxpayers, no?

In addition to the Tories, Britain's Liberal Democrats issued the following statement:

"This will be seen as a landmark judgment," said foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell. "In trenchant language, the highest court in the land has rejected evidence obtained by torture.
"Set against the background of extraordinary rendition and illegal detention it marks a return to due process and the rule of law."

The British Civil rights pressure group Liberty had this to say:

"Our courts have done this country proud today by telling our government and governments around the world that you’re either with us or against us in the war against torture."

From Amnesty:

"The law lords ruling has overturned the tacit belief that torture can be condoned under certain circumstances.
"This ruling shreds any vestige of legality with which the UK government had attempted to defend a completely unlawful and reprehensible policy, introduced as part of its counter-terrorism measures."
It added: "It is also now imperative that the UK government drops the so-called memoranda of understanding on the basis of which it is seeking to deport alleged terror suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture."

That should come as good news to this man:

Computer specialist Babar Ahmad said Wednesday that he would appeal against Home Secretary Charles Clarke's decision to extradite him to the US to face charges of running terrorist websites.
The 31-year-old IT specialist, who worked for London's prestigious Imperial College, was arrested under a US extradition warrant in August 2004 after being released without charge after he was held and interrogated by UK anti-terror police in December 2003.
During his trial, lawyers complained he could be at risk of the death penalty if sent to the US and transferred to military jurisdiction at Guantanamo Bay.

Many MPs as well as academics from universities across Britain have joined in calling for the UK government to repeal the country's new Extradition Act with the US.

Several members of the House of Lords have also criticized the unbalanced nature of the extradition treaty and its failure to offer any protection to British subjects.

One such member was one of the law lords, and had this to say after the ruling was issued:

"In question here is not the power of the executive but rather the integrity of the judicial process.
"It confirms the right of the executive to act on whatever information it may receive from around the world, while at the same time preserving the integrity of the judicial process and vindicating the good name of British justice."

Such a thing could be done to preserve American justice if an American government official would stand up in acceptance of the ruling in opposition to torture as this British government official did:

Home secretary Charles Clarke has today said, "The majority of their lordships have ruled that evidence should be admitted ... unless those acting for terrorism suspects can establish - on the balance of probabilities - that the evidence was obtained by torture."

As some of the other law lords said:

* LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL "The principles of the common law, standing alone, in my opinion compel the exclusion of third-party torture evidence as unreliable, unfair, offensive to ordinary standards of humanity and decency and incompatible with the principles which should animate a tribunal seeking to administer justice."

"Torture is not acceptable. No civilised society condones its use. Unhappily, condemnatory words are not always matched by conduct. Information derived from sources where torture is still practised gives rise to the present problem."

"There are ample grounds for suspecting that the use of torture on detainees suspected of involvement in international terrorism is widespread in countries with whom the security services of the United Kingdom are in contact."

The only sad thing about this ruling? When Bu$hCo war criminal terrorists end up in the dock, they won't have to endure that which they willfully inflicted upon others.

That would truly be justice.

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