rcj_web

Using secret evidence in a British court is a violation of justice: CAGE

London – A British High Court decision to allow evidence in a rendition case to be heard in secret for the first time is an injustice where possible criminal conduct by government agents is being covered up.

The decision was made in a case brought against the British government by Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah, two Pakistani men who allege they were wrongfully arrested, renditioned, imprisoned and tortured for ten years by British forces.

The ruling means that lawyers for the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office will be allowed to present certain evidence behind closed doors, in the name of “protecting national security”.

The evidence will therefore not be seen by the two claimants, their lawyers, journalists or members of the public, the very people who are able to scrutinise and challenge it.

Ibrahim Mohamoud, spokesperson for CAGE, said:

“It is a grave concern for justice when the British government will go so far as to violate the rule of law in order to cover up possible criminal conduct by its members.”

“Such developments are a violation of an individual’s right to a fair trial. Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah simply must be allowed to challenge the evidence held against them. Not allowing this means the trial itself descends into farce.”

 

(CC image courtesy of on Dan Perry Flikr)


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

wstmnst_web

Westminster attack must be met with calm and restraint

London – CAGE expresses its deepest sympathies with the victims of the attack that took place at Westminster earlier today.

It is important that an atmosphere of calm and restraint prevails in the wake of what appears to be an indiscriminate incident.

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said:

“We express our deepest sympathies to all those who have lost their lives in this incident, and to those many injured.”

“While we accept that the security services and the police play a crucial role in keeping the public safe, such attacks which require very little planning cannot be thwarted by ever more securitisation and policing of communities. Reactionary policies in the UK have a global ramification and it is important that the government leads with policies that seek to end the global cycles of violence rather than further them.”

 

Press enquiries:
Ibrahim Mohamoud
Communications Officer
Press@cageuk.org

 

(CC image courtesy of Jlhopgood on Flikr)


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

USstrike_web

US military attack “killing 56” at Syrian mosque is a war crime

London – The air strike by United States aircraft which destroyed a mosque in northern Syria, killing at least 56 civilians and injuring at least 100 more, constitutes a war crime.

According to reports, it was thought that Syria or Russia was originally responsible, but later the United States admitted it had hit the area where the mosque in al-Jina was located. The mosque, they said, was across the road from a location “assessed to be a meeting place for al-Qaeda”.

No evidence has been provided by the CENTCOM to back up these claims, and no information has been provided as to the identities of the individuals who were killed, suggesting that the United States does not even know the names of the dead.

Ibrahim Mohamoud, spokesperson for CAGE, said:

“The United States government is expanding its ‘War on Terror’ in Syria through the use of airstrikes and drones, alongside Russia, Iran and the regime’s militias.”

“The ease in which individuals are executed en masse, with very little argument from world leaders, or from the broader international community, has become all too normal in the region.”

“Regardless of whom the target was, such strikes only reinforce the idea that the US military action is furthering the same agenda as Bashar al Assad against the Syrian people.”

 

(Image courtesy of Hadi Alabdallah on Youtube)


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

passport_web

The ECHR decision on citizenship removal case endorses unjust practices

The  consequences of the ECHR’s decision in the case of ‘K2’, a dual British-Sudanese citizen who had his UK citizenship revoked, will lead to a greater use of secret evidence.

The use of secret evidence has poisoned the UK legal system and prevents individuals and their lawyers from seeing evidence relevant to them, making it impossible to answer allegations. Accordingly, secret evidence undermines a transparent and fair judicial process. It destroys the concept of natural justice. The record of the ECHR in protecting minorities from discrimination has been abysmal and this is a further indication of its hostility to protecting the rights of marginalised groups.

A growing number of Muslim men who lose their citizenship are left in a form of ‘medieval exile’, unable to re-enter the UK and unable to challenge the decision against them.

Ibrahim Mohamoud, spokesperson for CAGE, said:

“The real impact of this court decision is the ever growing, pervasive use of secret evidence being admitted in UK courts. Such unjust practices are becoming normalised in immigration, criminal and even family court cases.”

“It is unfortunate that the judiciary and legal profession have not resisted such an assault on fundamental values. As a result, we have a two tier justice system for minority communities, with Muslims especially affected.”

“Citizenship stripping has been gathering pace (also see here, here) at an alarming rate under the Conservative government. As with previous cases, the decision of the court to accept ‘K2’’s citizenship removal denies him any chance of a successful appeal. As with other anti-terror policies the current victims are Muslims but the template will be used against other groups to erode the civil liberties of all and not just a suspect community.”

 

 

Press enquiries:
Ibrahim Mohamoud
Communications Officer
press@cageuk.org


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

https---cage.ngo-wp-content-uploads-students-not-suspects

Inclusion of CAGE as “controversial” in PREVENT training manual shows how the policy strangles debate on crucial issues

London – The inclusion of CAGE on a PREVENT training presentation as a “controversial” organisation whose views should be mitigated on campuses, is indicative of the securitisation of universities under PREVENT and the creeping infringement of the government on free speech.

Although CAGE was singled out in the manual, we are just one of the many dissenting voices targeted by PREVENT, which also takes aim at Muslims who question foreign and domestic policy, environmental activists and pro-Palestinian groups.

It is alarming that criticism of PREVENT and government policy is seen as a marker for ‘extremism’, especially since all our events feature presenters that call for due process and the rule of law.

Moazzam Begg, CAGE Outreach Director, said:

“Shortly after PREVENT became law, the former director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, said it risked creating a “chilling effect” on debate and “deadening impact” on research in universities. That has now happened.”

“There has never been such a mechanism, that caused such confusion and such fear as there has been since the implementation of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act. The level of securitisation of the universities is something that we as a nation should be very sad about.”

“Our opponents assert that CAGE’s views should not go unchallenged on university campus. We’ve always been prepared to debate anyone who’d like to argue in favour of the raft of anti-terror measures that have targeted Muslims since the outset of the war on terror, beginning with kidnap, false imprisonment and torture. Effectively, this means PREVENT would open a public platform to a war crimes apologist.”

(Image: Moazzam Begg speaking at Kings College London)


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

trump_web

Trump’s declarations that “torture works” just reflects US policy to date

London – US President Donald Trump’s declaration that “torture works” is a complete denial of the truth and is a dangerous facilitator of further human rights abuses in the name of the War on Terror, and further violence.

Even CIA officials stated in the Senate Report on Torture, released in redacted form in 2014, that torture either produced no intelligence, or [victims] “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence”.

The illegal torture and rendition of prisoners has never ceased, however. A case in point is that of Mahdi Hashi, who was deprived of his UK citizenship then ‘rendered’ to the US from Djibouti and placed under Special Administrative Measures, before being sentenced last year to nine years. This, after experiencing conditions described as torture by the UN. Prosecutors said they had no evidence Hashi engaged in violence.

Because Obama did not bring torturers to account, the US government and security services are filled with people who are willing to violate international law with impunity. No doubt individuals within government intelligence agencies, such as the CIA and others, will react with enthusiasm to his statements, while their actions will continue to fuel further violence.

Moazzam Begg, CAGE Outreach Director, said:

“President Trump would do well to remember the case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Al-Libi’s torture and subsequent false confession which lead directly to the US justification for the invasion of Iraq and its disintegration as a sovereign state. The emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its incremental transition into Islamic State is a consequence even Obama has admitted.”

“IS members dressed their captives in orange suits and allegedly waterboarded them. Where did they learn that from? Waterboarding is torture and torture is a crime, no matter who carries it out. The outrage should be that no one’s been prosecuted for it.”

“The publicising of torture combined with the lack of accountability for it, leads to a fear-based society where Muslims and others who speak against the system are pacified, and even cajoled into towing the line in the ‘War on Terror’. Trump is only adding fuel to fire.”

Ibrahim Mohamoud
Communications Officer
press@cageuk.org


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Thulsietwins

Thulsie twins face torture if they are extradited to the United States: CAGE Africa

Johannesburg – South Africa must resist any attempts to extradite Sallahuddin (Tony-Lee) and Yakin (Brandon-Lee) Thulsie to the United States for trial.

The possibility of extradition where the US is involved, mentioned by state prosecutor Chris MacAdam, would be a subversion of South Africa’s judicial process. Not only this, but the twins will likely be tortured and face an unfair trial under current US counter-terrorism legislation.

A police affidavit seen by CAGE Africa testifies that the ISIS contact who allegedly communicated with one of the twins, was a US agent. It is likely that the Thulsie case was a US ‘sting operation’.

‘Stings’ – where members of US security services lure vulnerable individuals into making incriminating statements and encourage violent acts – make up two-thirds of ISIS-related terrorism cases in the United States. This has prompted a former FBI agent to state that the US is “manufacturing terrorism cases”.

In South Africa this is known as entrapment.

Such entrapment has resulted in sentences of over 20 years under broad counter-terrorism legislation. Stings have targeted isolated individuals, the mentally ill, and individuals with strong political views.

In one case a  Judge Colleen McMahon declared, “The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own…I suspect that real terrorists would not have bothered themselves with a person who was so utterly inept…Only the government could have made a terrorist out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.”

The state’s requests for further postponements of up until the end of April are also unconstitutional and will amount to a detention-without-trial period of nine months. This, in circumstances where the State’s main witness has retracted his statement to the police.

The State alleges that arrests made in the UK in November of last year and Kenya are linked to the Thulsies, but the circumstances of these arrests and the reliability of evidence gathered is yet to be interrogated in a fair trial.

Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said: 

“It is well documented that the United States security services and prison system torture individuals. Regardless of an individual’s guilt or innocence, nobody should be tortured. If South Africa concedes to an extradition in the twins’ case, to a country that espouses and practices torture, it will be in violation of its own constitution and various international laws.”

“Asking for postponement after postponement hints at weaknesses in the state’s case. Not only is it a violation of the twins’ rights not to be detained without trial, but it sets a dangerous precedent for others.”

“Questions as to whether the alleged evidence in Kenya and Britain was gathered under torture and in violation of due process must also be answered. This must be seen to be a fair trial so that communities are not angered and isolated, and justice is upheld.”

Press enquiries:

Karen Jayes
+27 84 648 1425
karen@cage.ngo


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Belhadj_ruk

Belhaj ruling a small step on a long path to justice: CAGE

London – The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar to bring their case against the British government to court is a step in the right direction on a long path to justice.

Seven Supreme Court judges unanimously dismissed the Government’s appeal, concluding that the claims Britain was unlawfully involved in the rendition of Mr Belhaj and Mrs Boudchar, and are culpable for the torture they allegedly suffered, must be allowed to proceed in the English courts.

Though this is a dismissal of attempts by the Government to escape accountability, the ruling should be greeted with caution. There have been previous attempts by Whitehall to evade accountability of individuals, such as Sir John Chilcott’s inability to get former prime minister Tony Blair to answer for Britain’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Intelligence and Security Committee also stated that holding specific politicians to account would damage relations with the United States, which means it is likely that former foreign secretary Jack Straw will evade a trial.

The Belhaj family have requested a simple apology from the British government as opposed to financial compensation. Fatima was pregnant at the time of her ordeal.

CAGE Outreach Director Moazzam Begg, said:

“During the ‘Arab Spring’, I travelled to Libya with the legal teams of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi in order to encourage them to seek justice for what they’d endured. That initial meeting has finally resulted in today’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court to permit legal action against the government for being involved in kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture.”

“We note the failure of the CPS to pursue prosecutions against the security services in horrific torture cases of people like Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and other Guantanamo prisoners, and this ruling must renew the demands on why the Government has seemingly tolerated criminal behaviour.”

“One of those facing serious allegations of complicity in torture is the former Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who once infamously claimed in Parliament:
‘Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, …there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop.’
Today’s ruling by its highest court affirms that Britain’s involvement in kidnap and torture is anything but a conspiracy theory.”

“It is essential that individuals are held accountable for crimes such as torture, kidnapping and rendition. CAGE calls for a full criminal investigation into the individuals involved in this case.”

 

Press enquiries:
Ibrahim Mohamoud
Communications Officer
press@cageuk.org

 

(Image courtesy of Reprieve UK on Youtube)

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

prevent_pr

Leaked government document names ‘vetted’ organisations in receipt of £1.2 million in PREVENT funding

(London) – A Home Office document titled ‘Local Delivery Best Practice Catalogue’ leaked by Public Interest Investigations highlights in full organisations and projects vetted and funded by the government to deliver the controversial PREVENT strategy nationally. Produced by the OSCT (Office for Security and Counter Terrorism), the document reveals:

– The OSCT’s admission that Faith on the Frontline; FAST, #MakingAStand (delivered by Inspire) and A Tale of Two Cities (film) are all ‘products’ of the Home Office’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU).

– The direct relationship between the OSCT and ‘third party provider’ organisations.

– The costs associated with these programmes and the specific locations it targeted at.

– The names of the ‘grass-roots’ organisations delivering government vetted projects.

Most notably the document refers to amongst many:

  • Faith Associates (Imams Online being one of their flagship projects),
  • Upstanding Neighbourhoods,
  • Families Against Stress and Trauma (FAST),
  • Active Change Foundation (ACF)
  • and London Tigers.

Despite being dated March 2015, the document highlights that the projects will be used to produce a best practice catalogue once the evaluation period is completed in March 2016.

Asim Qureshi, CAGE Research Director, said:

“These revelations call for a serious dialogue within the Muslim community on the legitimacy of government sanctioned activism. It also highlights the government’s deceptive approach in engaging with Muslim communities and again calls into question the failing PREVENT policy and its shadow, the global CVE campaign.”

“This document also conclusively demonstrates the relationship and oversight the Home Office has over ostensibly community led projects. CAGE’s earlier report “We are completely independent” and The Guardian revelations, have previously highlighted these points and demonstrated how RICU was in effect directing and attempting to manufacture consent for PREVENT amongst Muslim communities.”


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

(CC Image Courtest of mayu on flikr)

Detention-without-trial for Thulsie twins will extend to seven months: CAGE

Johannesburg – Continuous delays in resolving the Thulsie case mean South Africa is walking down the path of a detention-without-trial system, while the state buys more time to build its case with the assistance of unknown foreign governments.

The Thulsie case was postponed again this week until 17 January “for further investigation”. This means the twins will have been detained without trial for almost seven months by the time their case is heard. This has put considerable strain on the Thulsie family.

According to a police affidavit seen earlier in the month by CAGE Africa, one reason police have requested the extension is because the individual analysing the data on the Thulsies’ electronic devices resigned in October. The new individual is currently being trained “by a foreign government” in data analysis.

It is in the interests of all South Africans that the case is swiftly resolved in a fair and transparent manner and that the process does not become beholden to foreign agendas.

Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“Questions must be asked about the motivation and modus operandi of the foreign government training the new individual in data analysis, and why they need so long. What is crucial is whether or not this mysterious government adheres to basic principles of international law and whether it is Islamophobic in nature.”

“For the trial to be fair, both sides of the story must be told. It is already apparent that the ISIS contact allegedly in touch with one of the Thulsie brothers was an undercover US agent, who may well have encouraged incriminating statements and behaviours in order to create a terrorism case, as has happened in the majority of terrorism cases in the United States. This possibility needs to be considered so that the rule of law is respected.”

“This case will set the tone for how Muslim conversations and opinions are viewed through the prism of counter-terrorism. We call on the court to adopt an independent and objective view and not fall under the spell of foreign governments who have their own agendas and often employ underhanded methods in the ‘War on Terror’.”

Press enquiries:
Karen Jayes
karen@cage.ngo
+27 84 648 1425

 

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.