Labour’s Secret Detentions On Diego Garcia

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Chagos Islanders demonstrating outside the House of Lords demanding the right to return to Diego Garcia
Chagos Islanders demonstrating outside the House of Lords demanding the right to return to Diego Garcia

Legal charity Reprieve yesterday demanded the British government reveal details of the secret illegal detention of ‘ghost’ prisoner Mustafa Setmariam Naser on Diego Garcia and asked two UN Special Rapporteurs to urgently investigate his disappearance.

Reprieve said in a statement: ‘Mustafa Setmariam Naser was ‘disappeared’ while in US custody in 2005.

‘Reprieve has learned that he was sent to Syria, where he is held incommunicado in shocking conditions and almost certainly tortured.

‘It seems the US deliberately “disappeared” him to a rights-abusing regime once he stopped being useful for intelligence purposes.

‘The UK shares responsibility for Mr Naser’s disappearance because of its complicity in his “ghost” detention on Diego Garcia and elsewhere.’

Reprieve has:

1) Written to the UK government on behalf of Mr Naser’s wife to demand the UK fulfils its legal obligation to investigate his disappearance.

2) Joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in reporting Naser’s disappearance to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, requesting they take up the case with the UK and US governments.

Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith alleged: ‘Enforced disappearance is a crime most associated with ruthless South American dictatorships, yet here we have the US and British governments embroiled in the same dirty deeds.

‘Kidnapping is a crime in anyone’s language, and it is about time that powerful governments are held to account for their crime against Mustafa Naser.’

ACLU Staff Attorney Steven Watt said: ‘It is shocking that our governments are willing to deliberately “disappear” a father of four to a regime where he will likely be tortured, held incommunicado and never see his wife and children again.

‘Naser’s family are desperately worried about his welfare, and the UN must ensure that he is immediately found and his legal rights restored.’

Reprieve is asking the UK government to ‘investigate the disappearance of Mustafa Naser into a secret prison regime that concededly and routinely involved torture of prisoners’.

It added: ‘Diego Garcia and its surrounding waters have been a US/UK “legal black hole” for many years before the existence of Guantanamo Bay, and continues to be.’