Lawyers for Guantánamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed yesterday welcomed news that the UK government has referred his case to the Attorney General.
The Home Office is requesting a full investigation of his torture and rendition by the CIA, with a view to bringing prosecutions against the perpetrators of these crimes where appropriate.
In a statement, Reprieve (the legal action charity) and Leigh Day, who represent British resident Binyam Mohamed, said that on October 28, the Treasury Solicitor wrote to the judges presiding over Mohamed’s case against the UK government in the High Court.
The letter stated: ‘We write to inform the Court that the question of possible criminal wrongdoing to which these proceedings has given rise has been referred by the Home Secretary to the Attorney General for consideration as an independent minister of justice.
‘To that end the Home Secretary has sent the Attorney General:
‘(1) the open and closed judgment handed down by the Court thus far
‘(2) the transcripts (open and closed) of the cross examination of Witness A
‘(3) the open and closed written arguments and evidence of the parties and the Special Advocates
‘(4) the PII Certificates of the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary with their associated documents and sensitive schedules.’
Reprieve director, Clive Stafford Smith told News Line yesterday: ‘This is a welcome recognition that the CIA cannot just go rendering British residents to secret torture chambers without any consequences, and British agents cannot take part in American crimes without facing the music.
‘Reprieve will be making submissions to the Attorney General to ensure that those involved in these crimes – from the US, Pakistan, Morocco, Britain, and elsewhere – are held responsible.’
Richard Stein of Leigh Day added: ‘Ultimately the British Government had little choice in the matter, once they conceded that a case had been made out that Binyam Mohamed was tortured.
‘The Convention Against Torture rightly imposes an obligation on signatory states to investigate cases of torture, and we look forward to a full and open airing of the crimes committed against Mr. Mohamed and a thorough investigation by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service into this case.’
Reprieve has long maintained that the entire case against Mohamed should be dropped by the US Government, and that he should be returned to the UK, as the British Government requested in August 2007.