In just one week in the UK.
SIAC is meeting again today, and the whole situation threatens to turn into a colossal headache for the government. The men’s lawyers will argue that the government was in contempt of court, and it is expected that Mr. Justice Mitting, the chief judge, will not be happy to hear that the government behaved as though SIAC’s decisions were irrelevant, and, moreover, that the Home Secretary then acted in a manner that would have pleased King John, in those days before England’s nobles forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, establishing for the first time that the king had no right to imprison his subjects “except upon the lawful judgment of his peers or the law of the land.”
Today, we seem to be experiencing a new version of the divine right of kings: the self-declared right of an elected government official to ignore her own judges, and to cast foreign “terror suspects” into the modern day version of the Tower of London — Belmarsh prison — with no regard for the laws established over the last 794 years.
Reprieve renditions investigator Clara Gutteridge said: “I’m afraid this is only the tip of the renditions iceberg.”
“For years now, the British government has been tossing us miserable scraps of information about its involvement in illegal renditions in Pakistan, Diego Garcia and now Afghanistan.
“Enough is enough. The British government must come clean and reveal exactly who has it captured, what has been done to them, and where they are now.”
The police attack on the Gaza convoy undermined participation in democratic politics, as George Galloway has rightly said. More generally, participation in international solidarity activity here is being persecuted in the name of preventing terrorism. Similar powers have also been used against Tamil, Kurdish and Baloch activists, among others. Indeed, this is a main reason why the state has ‘anti-terror’ powers, which are not needed to protect the public from violence.
Therefore such powers and their use should be opposed by everyone who supports democratic rights of free expression and association. Solidarity is needed for political and charitable activities which may be targeted in the future.