CAMPACC statements, press releases...


Press Release: Use of Secret Evidence in the UK Courts

Human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce likened the present situation where a person can be held without trial on the basis of secret evidence as 'a national emergency.'

Addressing a House of Commons meeting on the use of secret evidence to detain individuals without trial, Mrs Peirce said 'Here today we have something extremely ugly and dangerous: two evils coming together in torture and secrecy.'

Mrs Peirce has been defending a number of individuals incarcerated without trial on the basis of secret evidence for a number of years.

Since 2001, the government has used the immigration court system involving the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) to incarcerate a number of individuals first in prison and then under control order style detention in premises around the country. The government has been seeking to deport the individuals concerned to countries, like Jordan and Algeria, where they previously fled for fear of torture and ill treatment.

Dinah Rose QC told of a situation in the SIAC court where a man asked the judge why he was being sent to prison. 'The judge said he couldnĀ¹t tell him that,' she said. Ms Rose explained that SIAC acted like and sounded like a court with judges
and lawyers but it was not possible to test evidence which is the function of a court.

Ben Ward from Human Rights Watch, which has intervened in several cases in which secret evidence has been used, also addressed the legal situation of the individuals and families affected.

Accounts written by five men being detained were read out by actors, who included Honor Blackman who read an address from Y.

Chaired by Labour MP Diane Abbot, the meeting was co-sponsored by the Campaign against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Peace and Justice in East London, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC), Cageprisoners, Association of Muslim Lawyers, Brighton Against Guantanamo and the Muslim Prisoner Support Group.

MPs attending the meeting included Conservative David Davis, Liberal Democrats Sarah Teather and Lynne Featherstone and Labour's David Leppard and Kelvin Hopkins.