Torture & rendition


Press Release: Campaigners to Mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture with Rally in Trafalgar Square, Sunday 26 June, 2pm

Friday 24 June

The London Guantánamo Campaign and Kingston Peace Council/CND will lead a rally in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 26 June, 2-4pm, to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness of torture worldwide and the collusion of states in its practice, and to show solidarity with victims of torture. The rally will be addressed by Andy Worthington, author of the Guantánamo Files and co-director of Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo [4], Jean Lambert MEP, Dr Frank Arnold, medical doctor and a founder of Medical Justice and speakers from Amnesty International; Stop the War Coalition; International Committee Against Disappearances; plus others [5].

Aisha Maniar, an organiser from the London Guantánamo Campaign, says:

“This day gives the world an opportunity to stand in solidarity with victims of torture, one of the most heinous crimes, committed by state agents against the very people whose role it is to protect. Torture and the collusion of many states in it are indefensible; there is ample evidence to implicate the United Kingdom in this practice [6].

"The British government must go beyond verbal assurances that it does not practice or condone the use of torture: it must act on its obligations under international law to ensure that torture, collusion in torture, and other human rights abuses are no longer perpetrated or tolerated by the UK."

Noel Hamel, an organiser from Kingston Peace Council/CND, says: "In the unseemly clamour to join the war on terror after the attack on the Twin Towers, completely insanely torture suddenly became almost an acceptable and reasonable response. There is much re-education needed to show everyone why it is not and never could be."


Notes to the editor:

[1] The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition.

[2] Kingston Peace Council/CND is the local Campaign Group for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, drawing members from the Borough and adjacent areas. We campaign against war and weapons and for justice and human rights - and related issues.

[3] Since 1998, the UN has designated 26 June of each year International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the anniversary of the date of effect of the UN Convention Against Torture.


[5] Confirmed speakers include: Andy Worthington; Jean Lambert MEP; Dr Frank Arnold; Maya Evans, Justice Not Vengeance; Ilyas Townsend, Justice for Aafia Coalition; Maria Gallastegui, Peace Strike; Naomi Colvin, UK Friends of Bradley Manning; Noa Kleinman, Amnesty International; Sanum Ghafoor, Stop the War Coalition; Simar Kaur, Taran; Les Levidov, CAMPACC

[6] Almost a year ago, the UK government promised an inquiry into allegations of security service involvement in torture abroad; the Gibson Inquiry, which has yet to commence proceedings.

Various other investigations are on-going, some to obtain information for parliamentary committees, others initiated by lawyers acting on behalf of victims' families, into alleged cases of British army involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. These proceedings have generally been hindered by the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.

The British government is currently subject to litigation before the European Court of Human Rights due to its efforts to deport individuals to states known to practice torture. Britain also enforces the deportation of asylum seekers to countries from which they have fled torture.