Humanade... refreshingly humane

...refreshingly humane

Posts Tagged ‘human rights’


A tribute from Vivienne Westwood

My son, Joseph Corre, has established a charity called Humanade. His major concern – and the focus of the charity – is social justice and human rights. Read more..


Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier logo

Leonard Peltier was imprisoned over 30 years ago for a crime he did not commit, Humanade as one of his supporters will continue to campaign for his release and fund his legal team. For more information regarding Leonard Peltier please visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info


Reprieve

Reprieve

REPRIEVE uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Working on the frontline, they provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. They promote the rule of law around the world, and secure each person’s right to a fair trial. REPRIEVE’s lawyers are currently representing over 30 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. They also assist British nationals facing the death penalty around the world, and are conducting investigations into ‘extraordinary renditions’ and secret prisons in the so-called ‘War on Terror.’ For more information regarding REPRIEVE please visit: www.reprieve.org.uk

Humanade is funding REPRIEVE’s ‘Next Friend’ Investigator to work to reunite ‘Ghost Prisoners’ being held in US Sponsored Secret Prisons around the world with the rule of law.

When a prisoner is held by the US, or one of its proxy states, a habeas corpus challenge to the prisoner’s illegal detention can only be brought with permission from the prisoner or someone close to him. Since the prisoner is held incommunicado, this means inevitably that the person giving authorisation must be a family member or other ‘next friend’ (the legal term). None of the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay could secure legal representation were it not for the ‘next friend authorisations’ that have been secured from their family members all around the world.

With Humanade’s support, REPRIEVE has been able to gain authorisations from family members and to build ground-breaking cases – in jurisdictions around the world – that directly challenge the US-led policies of torture and disappearance.

Thanks to Humanade, REPRIEVE represents five new prisoners tortured in CIA prisons and the Next Friend investigator has directly assisted well over 100 people held in secret US prisons in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and Pakistan.  With the assistance of Humanade, Reprieve is building strong and strategically key cases that directly challenge the US practise of “disappearance”, and is able to engage in cutting-edge, cross-jurisdictional litigation with partners across three continents – in Europe, the US and Africa.

The 280 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay are only a small minority of the total number of prisoners held out of reach of the rule of law in the name of the US “War on Terror.” We believe there are at least 17,000 “ghost prisoners” in US custody, so the Guantánamo prisoners comprise a small minority of the total.  The other unfortunate ghost prisoners are in secret prisons scattered from Asia to Africa and the Middle East.  None has been allowed access to lawyers or courts.  This is the focus of the REPRIEVE ‘Next Friend’ Investigator position, funded by Humanade.

Thanks to Humanade’s support the outcome for this quarter is as follows:

During 2013 and 2014, thanks to Humanade’s funding:

Reprieve has reached some amazing heights in 2013 with support from Humanade. Below are a brief selection:

  • Our Stand Fast for Justice campaign won support the world over, and our short film featuring Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) being force-fed garnered over 6 million views on its first day alone. Through this campaign we brought Guantanamo Bay back into the public consciousness and placed it firmly on the political agenda, culminating in the release of Reprieve client Nabil Hadjarab. Astounding stuff. Here’s to further releases of cleared men next year.
  • In October, Reprieve brought a family of drone strike survivors to testify in front of Congress. This had never before been attempted – it was the first time that the US had heard directly from survivors of its shadowy war. Rafiq ur Rehman, a schoolteacher, and his two young children, Nabila and Zubair, talked about the blast that killed Mammana Bibi – Rafiq’s 67-year-old mother, and the children’s beloved grandmother. It was an incredibly moving and inspiring day, and the hearing was covered by all major US news outlets.
  • We continue to challenge illegitimate off-battlefield use of weaponised drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Reprieve Fellow, Baraa Shiban, has been working with the Yemeni National Dialogue, the body tasked with mapping out the country’s democratic future. In July, they voted by an overwhelming majority to ban extra-judicial killing, by drones or otherwise. The people of Yemen have clearly expressed their opposition to the use of drones – a significant development that undermines those who claim that there is widespread Yemeni support for drone strikes.
  • And besides all of this, over the past 12 months, Reprieve has also trained new human rights activists, developed networks of fellows and staff in the US, Indonesia, Pakistan and Yemen, and ensured that extreme human rights abuses are at the top of the media’s agenda. Not bad for 35 people in a small London office.

But these are not Reprieve’s achievements alone – they also belong to Humanade. You are helping Reprieve to drive change. Thank you so much for your support, and we look forward to fresh challenges next year, with you by our side.

During 2012 and 2013, thanks to Humanade’s funding:

Developments in Counter-Terror Strategies and Human Rights Violations:

Reprieve’s caseworker has continued with its new project to identify emerging patterns of human rights abuses connected to the war on terror. This project has been focusing on the Sahel region of North-West Africa, in particular Mali and Mauritania. In February REPRIEVE undertook an investigation trip to Paris, and made fruitful contact with a number of experts on the region.

In Romania:

In February 2013, a leading Romanian TV channel, Antena 1, broadcast a 10-part in-depth report on Romania’s role in the CIA prison system. REPRIEVE’s caseworker has been instrumental in this project since its inception and featured prominently in the programmes. An English version is forthcoming.

In Poland:

In January 2013, Reprieve’s caseworker assisted lawyers for Abu Zubaydah by drafting a new outline of his rendition history into and out of Poland, as part of Abu Zubaydah’s forthcoming application against Poland at the European Court of Human Rights. The case filing draws on documents uncovered in the course of Reprieve’s Renditions Inc. investigation, showing how a network of US companies, with worldwide logistical support, organised transfers of prisoners within the CIA’s secret prison system. Based on analysis of invoices, flight logs, cable traffic and contractual documents, the filing shows how Abu Zubaydah was taken from Thailand to Poland on 4 Dec. 2002, and then out of Poland to another black site on 23 Sept. 2003.

On 28 January 2013 Reprieve’s partners Interights filed an Introductory Complaint with the ECHR on behalf of Abu Zubaydah. REPRIEVE’s caseworker has given numerous interviews to Polish and international media concerning this case, and the Polish investigation more generally, in the last quarter.

Renditions in General:

Reprieve’s caseworker continued their work with the Rendition Project (http://www.therenditionproject.org.uk/), assisting them in compiling the world’s most comprehensive database of flights linked to the CIA’s secret prison programme.

In December Reprieve’s caseworker collaborated with the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. Assistance was gained by providing REPRIEVE with a briefing paper on investigations into the CIA’s secret detention programme.

A freedom of information request project specifically relating to Portugal’s renditions involvement is ongoing with partners Access Info Europe, and has recently produced some new documents.

Assistance to Legal Teams:

Reprieve’s caseworker has continued to liaise with US and European lawyers for ex-black site prisoners currently held in Guantanamo Bay, offering advice, analysis and documentary evidence to various legal teams.

During 2011 to 2012, thanks to Humanade’s funding:

In the Horn of Africa:
Reprieve visited a Tanzanian torture victim client with a team of medical doctors to develop a programme of medical and psychological support. We have now succeeded in putting in place a comprehensive programme of medical and psychiatric support for this client, and are working with our partners in the US and East Africa on a pilot project providing similar support to other such victims in the region.

Reprieve is working with partners to develop a regional accountability programme involving litigation at the East African Court of Justice, and a series of thematic hearings at the African Commission.

The imminent UK torture inquiry has put our UK litigation strategy on hold, however we are still actively gathering facts in relation to current illegal detention practices in the region that involve the UK, and will be feeding this into the inquiry.

In Afghanistan/Pakistan
Alongside colleagues in Reprieve and partner organisations, Reprieve has worked on filing suit in the US, the UK and Pakistan, for six Bagram prisoners, and obtained authorisations for four more since last quarter.

In Europe
Reprieve now has authorisation to represent two prisoners who were tortured in European CIA prisons – Abu Zubaydah and Abu Faraj al-Libbi. Reprieve arranged a meeting of key partners working on accountability in Poland and Lithuania, and we now have strong international teams working on cases in both jurisdictions. Reprieve is working on submissions that we hope to file in the next quarter in both cases.

UK
Reprieve has also commenced litigation to force the British government to disclose the identities of two men it admits to having captured in Iraq and transferred to US custody for rendition to Bagram Airforce Base in Afghanistan, where they remain. Reprieve had obtained a significant amount of worrying information about the plight of the two men, and during the previous quarter, we commenced litigation for the two men, which attracted a great deal of media attention. During this recent quarter, Reprieve met with the family and obtained authorisation to represent the second “unknown prisoner”. We have now filed suit in the UK for this man.

Reprieve had investigated and provided a witness statement to show that the prisoner on board one of the conceded rendition flights through Diego Garcia was a Pakistani national called Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, and that he was en-route to Egypt where he endured months of torture before being taken to Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay. In the past month, we have received new – and currently confidential – new information in relation to detentions on Diego Garcia.

Since the new government came to power, Reprieve has been working hard to compel a comprehensive inquiry into UK involvement in torture. That inquiry was announced today, and Reprieve will continue to work to broaden the terms of the inquiry and bring to light important facts. You can read more here.

During 2009 and 2010 thanks to Humanade’s funding:
Humanade funded Reprieve’s “next friend investigator”, to work to reunite “ghost prisoners” being held in US sponsored prisons around the world with the rule of law. Yunus Rahmatullah – the Pakistani citizen held in Bagram Airforce Base whose release has recently been ordered – is one of a number of beneficiaries of Humanade’s funding.

In the first quarter of the grant, Reprieve reported that the “next friend investigator” had obtained a significant amount of worrying information about the plight of two men the British government admitted to having captured in Iraq and transferred to US custody for rendition to Afghanistan. Reprieve reported that as a result of these investigations, Reprieve were launching litigation to force the British government to urgently disclose the identities of the two men. In the face of British government refusals to identify the men, over the course of the second quarter, the Humanade grant enabled the “next friend investigator” to conduct an international investigation which resulted in them meeting with Yunus Rahtmatullah’s family, and obtaining authorisation to represent him. As a result of the Humanade-funded investigation, Reprieve were able to independently confirm that Yunus Rahmatullah was one of the two men captured by the British in Iraq and handed to the US for rendition to Bagram. At the end of the second quarter of the Humanade grant, on the basis of evidence gathered during the investigation, Reprieve filed suit for Yunus Rahmatullah in the UK.

Yunus Rahmatullah is one of ten Bagram prisoners (amongst many more worldwide) whose families were tracked down by Reprieve’s Humanade-funded “next friend investigator” during the course of the generous grant. Reprieve continue to work for the release of these prisoners. Reprieve believe that these fantastic results have now been able to obtain, with Humanade’s assistance, in Yunus Rahmatullah’s case will be of direct benefit to many others held “beyond the rule of law” in Bagram Airforce base and beyond.


Redress

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Everyone who has been tortured remains tortured, long after the physical wounds have healed: unable to forget the unspeakable, degrading acts against them, yet ashamed to talk about them. And in many cases, knowing that the people who tortured them are still out there dehumanising someone else.

REDRESS works to combat torture by seeking justice and reparation for torture survivors from all over the world. This is a survivor’s right and a vital step in their recovery process. REDRESS also works to ensure that torturers are punished and that governments uphold the absolute prohibition on torture.

REDRESS has been working to tackle torture for 20 years. Their work currently covers torture and related crimes in more than 40 countries around the world, with over 100 active cases relating to more than 1200 survivors before national and international courts.

REDRESS undertakes:

  • ADVICE: REDRESS provides advice to survivors of all nationalities, in all countries, about the different options they may have for seeking justice.
  • LITIGATION: REDRESS takes survivors’ cases to national and international courts, promote criminal prosecutions of perpetrators and pursue another remedies aimed at acknowledging that what was done is wrong and should never happen again.
  • ADVOCACY: REDRESS advocates with governments, parliaments and international organisations on the need to respect the absolute prohibition of torture.
  • TRAINING: REDRESS works with local human rights and survivors groups, where communities have suffered heinous human rights abuses during conflict, promoting survivors’ rights before international institutions and courts, including the International Criminal Court.

For further information on REDRESS, please visit www.REDRESS.org

Thanks to Humanade’s support, REDRESS was able to fund an expert Legal Casework Advisor, helping over 47 survivors in the UK to seek justice and reparations for the harm they suffered.

REDRESS‘ clients in the UK are either British nationals who were tortured while working or travelling abroad or refugees and asylum seekers fleeing torture in their home countries. Additionally, REDRESS works on cases of individuals who allege to have suffered torture or other prohibited ill treatment by, or with the acquiescence or involvement of, UK officials.

These are just a few examples of the many torture survivors supported by REDRESS with Humanade’s support over the past years:

  • REDRESS helped a British national, imprisoned and tortured in the Philippines, now returned to the UK. In 1996, he was arrested for rape, in what turned out to be fabricated charges as part of a plot to extort money from him, and was found guilty and placed on ‘death row’. During his time in prison he suffered heinous abuses. REDRESS successfully brought his case to the UN Human Rights Committee and the Philippine Government was eventually ordered to afford  him with an appropriate remedy. REDRESS is now working with a Philippines lawyer to enforce the UN decision.
  • REDRESS helped a severely ill Turkish torture survivor who had been denied entry to the UK to reunite with his father and mother. We helped him appeal the decision of the UK Border Agency and he was ultimately allowed to join his family in the UK.
  • REDRESS helped a Bahraini who was granted asylum in the United Kingdom after having been tortured in Bahrain for his political activities in 1994 and was again tortured in the months leading to the “Arab spring” uprising in Bahrain. REDRESS has written to UN special rapporteurs on human rights to bring this case to their attention. We have continued to work very closely with other victims of torture from the recent uprisings to seek compensation for them. We have also tried to draw more attention to the problem before international bodies.
  • REDRESS was actively involved on the case of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi civilian beaten to death by UK military personnel. REDRESS worked closely with Mr. Mousa’s father’s solicitors and intervened in hearings which reached the legal committee of the House of Lords. In 2008 the UK settled the damages claimed by Mousa’s father and nine others who had been detained and ill-treated at the same time but had survived. A total of £2.83 million pounds was shared amongst them. Further to the creation of the Baha Mousa Inquiry in July 2010, REDRESS made two submissions to the Inquiry on UK’s obligations under international law.

At the beginning of 2012, Humanade awarded a new grant to REDRESS to keep supporting its legal casework on behalf of victims of torture. This included costs associated with researching and preparing documentation for cases, obtaining evidence and reports (such as medical assessments), court fees, and meetings with survivors’ lawyers, officials, and relevant organisations. More specifically, Humanade’s grant helped REDRESS‘ work in advancing dozens of cases, among them:

  • The case of a British/Turkish dual national who was tortured by Greek coastguards while in detention in 2011. He was raped with a truncheon in a homophobic attack for being gay. REDRESS brought his case to the European Court of Human Rights. The Court found that the rape constituted torture and ordered Greece to pay him €50 000 in compensation. When the judgment becomes final, REDRESS will work to ensure that the payment of €50 000 is made to the victim and will encourage the Committee to require other measures of non-repetition from Greece.
  • The case of a 80 year old Chilean tortured under the Pinochet regime who now lives in the UK. He was subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, physical and psychological torture and other ill-treatment. REDRESS has been representing him for many years. In 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declared his case admissible, and in 2011 the case was transferred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for hearing. REDRESS has also advocated on behalf of the victim before the Chilean government so they agreed to cover an specific medical treatment the victim require.
  • The case of a UAE citizen, who suffered severe ill-treatment after being  rendered from Kenya to Somalia and then to Ethiopia as part of counter-terrorism operations. She was illegally detained and interrogated by the Kenyan Counter Terrorism Force and accused of having links with Al Qaeda in 2007. She was then rendered firstly to Somalia and afterwards to Ethiopia, where she was eventually released. A civil claim was filed in Kenya but has been delayed as it appears the court record has been ‘lost.’ REDRESS is working with Kenyan lawyers to take this case forward.
  • The case of a Uzbekistan human rights activist, who was detained, tortured and forced to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries  during detention in Uzbekistan, before being forced into exile. REDRESS is preparing to file her case with the UN Human Rights Committee.
  • Strategic litigation of torture related sexual violence cases in Africa: REDRESS is working with lawyers from six countries in Central Africa (DRC, Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Burundi, Sudan, and Kenya) to identify cases for strategic litigation on sexual violence perpetrated during conflict. This will result in applications filed with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other bodies.
  • Torture and rape cases in Maldives and Nepal: REDRESS, together with local human rights groups, is working with a survivor who was tortured in Maldives during the coup in February 2012. REDRESS is also working on three cases of torture of women (rape by the military and torture in detention) during the recent conflict in Nepal.

Thanks to your donations Humanade’s funding has aided the following Developments: (February 2013)

Ebenezer Akwanga v. Cameroon (Human Rights Committee):

Further to the unanimous decision by the Human Rights Committee holding Cameroon responsible for the torture and other human rights violations suffered by Mr Akwanga (May 2012) and consequent failure by the Cameroon government to report to the Committee on the measures it has taken to provide effective remedies, REDRESS submitted a claim for compensation to the Cameroonian Government in November 2012.

Mujkanovic, et al v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (European Court of Human Right):

In December 2012, REDRESS, together with OMCT, has submitted a third party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of Mujkanovic, et al v. Bosnia and Herzegovina. The case relates to 11 people who have disappeared during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. The victims’ relatives complain that Bosnia and Herzegovina has failed to fulfil its obligation to fully investigate into the disappearances and deaths. They also claim that the authorities have, for many years, refused to engage, acknowledge or assist in their efforts to find out what happened to their loved ones, and that this amounts to torture and ill-treatment. The intervention focuseson the link between enforced disappearance and torture, and the relationship between the continuing nature of enforced disappearance and the content of an effective remedy and reparation for those who have disappeared.

Sudan – human rights defender finally released after almost one year of unlawful detention

In December 2012, REDRESS, together with a local NGO, submitted a request for Urgent Action to the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, regarding the arbitrary arrest and ongoing detention of Mrs Jalila Khamis Koko, a Sudanese human rights defender.

She was arbitrarily arrested by Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on 14 March 2012 in Khartoumand placed in detention. She was accused,among other things, ofplaying a role in agitating for war in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains (where an armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan Liberation Movement-North is ongoing).While in detention, NISS officers verbally abused her, continuously threatened that she would be charged with crimes against the state which are subject to the death penalty and telling her at some point that she would be transferred to a particular prison to be executed.

We called on the Special Rapporteurs to ensure her immediate and unconditional release; that a full and independent investigation into her arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment commence immediately; and that those responsible be prosecuted where sufficient evidence is available and subjected to adequate punishment.

Jalila was finally released after a Court hearing on 20 January.

Khaled El-Masri v. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

In a landmark judgment on 13 December, the European Court of Human Rights held Macedonia responsible for its involvement in the secret detention, rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, by the US Central Intelligence Agency. REDRESS had made written submissions as a third party to the Court in the case to highlight, among other issues, the right for the victim and the general public to know the truth of what happened.

El-Masri has been unable to pursue a case against the United States, leading him to file a case against Macedonia for its involvement in his treatment. It was the first time that the Court addressed a European country’s involvement in the CIA extraordinary rendition program. In a key finding, the Court held that the treatment inflicted on El-Masri by the CIA on handover at Skopje airport – where he was beaten, stripped and sodomised with an object, before being chained to the floor of an aircraft and forcibly drugged – amounted to torture. Even though US agents carried out the abuse, the Court held Macedonia responsible because it had allowed it to occur on its territory. The Court also found that Macedonia should not have allowed El-Masri to be handed over to US authorities because of the real risk he would be subjected to torture or ill-treatment at their hands. Macedonia was ordered to pay El-Masri €60,000 in compensation.

Purna Maya v. Nepal

On 19 December REDRESS and its partner Advocacy Forum filed a landmark case on sexual violence before the UN Human Rights Committee. The case was brought by a victim of multiple rapes by Nepali soldiers before the Committee, after she failed to achieve justice in Nepal.

Further to having received threats from soldiers who were looking for her estranged husband, on 23 November 2004 Purna Maya was dragged out of bed by soldiers and taken into custody, where she was beaten and raped repeatedly by at least four different soldiers.

Despite reporting the crimes to the authorities, she has not had her case investigated in Nepal, no person has been prosecuted, and she has not received any reparation. In 2011 her lawyers were barred from lodging a complaint with the police because of a law which states that complaints must be brought to the police within 35 days of the rape. An appeal to the Supreme Court calling for the registration of the case failed, leaving the victim without any remedies.

In its submission to the UN Human Rights Committee, Advocacy Forum and REDRESS alleged that Nepal is responsible for serious violations of her human rights and that the limitation period for filing rape complaints is contrary to Nepal’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Torture charges in the UK against the Nepalese military officer, Kumar Lama:

In January 2013 a Nepali colonel suspected of torture during the civil war in Nepal was arrested by police, charged and is now awaiting trial in the UK under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Our Nepalese partner, Advocacy Forum, is actively involved in the case and has represented one of the victims mentioned in the charges. On 4 January, we wrote to the Attorney General, highlighting that prosecuting those responsible for torture is a legal obligation, irrespective of where the torture was committed, and of the nationality of perpetrator and victim, and urging him not to let political considerations influence the proceedings and to stress that a prosecution for torture is in the public interest. The next hearing is scheduled for May 2013 and we will regularly monitor the trial.

Ameziane v. United States:

Djamel Ameziane is an Algerian refugee who has been detained in Guantánamo Bay without charge since 2002. He was cleared for release in October 2008 but remains in Guantanamo to this date.

In 2008, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law filed a petition and request for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requiring all necessary measurestobe taken to ensure that Mr Ameziane is not transferred or removed to a country where he would likely face torture or other persecution.

On March 20, 2012, the IACHR considered Mr Ameziane’s case to be admissible. This decision marks the first time the IACHR has accepted jurisdiction over the case of a man detained at Guantánamo, and underscores the fact that there has been no effective domestic remedy available to victims of unjust detentions and other abuses at the base.

The IACHR will now move to gather more information on the substantive human rights law violations suffered by Mr Ameziane – including the harsh conditions of confinement he has endured, the abuses inflicted on him, and the illegality of his detention. REDRESS is currently preparing a third party submission to the Commission on the serious violations of international human rights law inherent in the Guantanamo Bay detention system, and its negative impact on the integrity of the system as a whole.

Leopoldo Garcia Lucero v. Chile:

Further to the information provided in our report on August 2012 on the case of 81-year old Chilean survivor, tortured and forcibly exiled by the Pinochet regime, the Inter American Court of Human Rights notified us in December 2012 that his hearing will take place in Medellin, Colombia between 18-22 March 2013 (we are waiting for the exact hearing date to be confirmed as well as modalities for the testimony of the proposed expert witnesses). We are currently preparing Mr Garcia for the hearing, with the help of a psychologist. We are also preparing our oral submissions, and liaising with expert witnesses. Nora Svaeass, psychologist and member of the Committee Against Torture is one of our proposed experts and will hopefully be testifying in person on the scope of the notion of ‘redress’ under the Torture Convention. Prof. Cath Collins is our other proposed expert witness, who is an expert on Chile and the domestic processes that have taken place to provide compensation and rehabilitation to victims in that country. Mr Garcia’s case contests the adequacy of the remedies available at the domestic level.

(November 2012 funding update)

El Haski v Belgium:

On 25 September, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) upheld the prohibition on the use of evidence obtained through torture in the El Haski v Belgium case. REDRESS and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, who had both intervened as amicus curiae, welcomed the Court’s ruling. Lahoucine El Haski, a Moroccan national, was convicted of terrorism related charges by a Belgian Court, based upon evidence that had been obtained in Morocco. The ECtHR found that there was a “real risk” that the evidence that had been used to prosecute El Haski had been obtained through torture, and that there had therefore been a violation of fair trial principles (Article 6 of the European Convention).

The “Bush Six” case:

On 25 September, REDRESS joined the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights, along with a number of other NGOs and experts, to file an amicus brief before the Spanish Supreme Court, asking it to reopen the “Bush Six” case involving six US officials. The officials, namely; David Addington, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes, and John Yoo, allegedly participated in the systematic planning of torture and other serious abuses of detainees at US run facilities at Guantánamo and other overseas locations. These allegations amount to serious violations of international law, including both the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.

Amarasinghe v. Sri Lanka:

On 27 September REDRESS submitted a communication to the UN Human Rights Committee regarding the alleged abuse of a Sri Lankan man at the hands of the Sri Lankan police. Amarasinghe Arachchige Simon Amarasinghe was arrested on 13 August 2010 by two police officers. During his arrest he was allegedly subjected to torture and other forms of severe ill-treatment by the police officers, which resulted in his death the following day. An investigation was started into the death of the victim, and the magistrate found that there was enough evidence to charge the arresting police officers with murder. However, while the proceedings were still ongoing, the Attorney-General intervened, blocking the continued investigation by the magistrate. After unsuccessfully seeking justice in Sri Lanka, the victim’s brother, with the support of REDRESS and the Asian Legal Resource Centre, brought the communication to the Human Rights Committee, claiming that Sri Lanka is responsible for violating articles 6 (right to life), 7 (prohibition of torture and ill-treatment) and 9 (right to liberty and personal security) and denying effective remedy to the victim in violation of its obligation under article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Mau Mau case:

On 5 October, three elderly Kenyans who were tortured during the Mau Mau struggle for independence in the 1950s won a historic legal battle against the British government, after the High Court rejected the government’s argument that their claims were time barred under English law. REDRESS made both written and oral submissions to the High Court arguing that statutes of limitations do not apply serious human rights violations such as torture under international law. The case will now proceed to a full trial unless the Government opens negotiations, which lead to a settlement.