Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Torture laws guidance to go public

Lawyers acting for the Prime Minister and other ministers promised the High Court that fresh guidance will soon be given to the security and intelligence services on the law on torture.

The promise led to a judge dismissing an attempt to challenge the legality of the current Government guidelines on what amounts to complicity in torture.

Reprieve, which campaigns for the rights of prisoners, argued there was “compelling evidence” to show UK intelligence officers had been “reaping the fruits” of the torture of terror suspects in foreign countries since at least 2002.

There was no suggestion the officers had been breaching the secret guidelines, giving rise to the inference the guidance unlawfully permitted “conduct amounting to complicity in torture”.

James Eadie QC — acting for David Cameron, the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and the Attorney General — said there was “no credible evidence” that there had been any complicity in torture by UK agents.

He told Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, there would be fresh guidance published “very shortly”, making any legal challenge unnecessary.

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