Document Library - Press Releases

Category: 2008
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Press release: Immediate, 22 September 2008   Handing over of detainees by UK Forces to the US may be unlawful.   “There have been a number of allegations that UK Forces had been capturing people and handing them over to US authorities, knowing that these detainees were at risk of being tortured or mistreated”, said Andrew Tyrie MP.   “I commissioned a Legal Opinion to establish whether the UK acted unlawfully when they were handed over.  I now have the answer.  The UK remains legally responsible for the subsequent treatment of anybody who has been detained by the UK.”   “As the Opinion says, any assurances given by the US authorities that an individual handed over by UK forces to the US authorities would not be mistreated or unlawfully rendered, would not absolve the UK government of the obligation to examine whether the assurances provide a sufficient guarantee that the individual will be protected against the risk of ill-treatment.”   “Furthermore, the Legal Opinion highlights ‘specific concerns about the legality of the UK having accepted such assurances’.  In correspondence with me the Ministry of Defence has relied on ‘understandings’ with the United States on this issue.”   “It is likely that British policy on this area is not only ethically questionable but is also unlawful.  The Government now needs to radically rethink its policy on this issue.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Friday 29 August 2008   Andrew Tyrie MP writes to the Intelligence and Security Committee about the High Court’s judgment in the case of British resident Binyam Mohamed; ISC may have been misled.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The High Court’s ruling in the case of Binyam Mohamed confirmed the concern I have had for several years: that the UK is complicit in extraordinary rendition.  By that I mean that the UK is complicit in the US programme of kidnapping people and taking them to places where they may be tortured.”   “The ruling also raises crucial questions about the Intelligence and Security Committee, which may have been misled in its investigation into rendition last year.”   “The ISC found ‘no evidence that the UK Agencies were complicit in any “Extraordinary Rendition” operations’.  This appears not to be the case.  The Committee also concluded that the Agencies had no knowledge of the possible consequences of US custody of detainees generally, or of Binyam Mohamed specifically.  Both of these points appear to have been contradicted by the High Court.”   “Evidence given to the Committee by the Security Service also appears to have been called into question by this judgment.  That is why I have written to the ISC, calling for it to obtain an explanation for these discrepancies as a matter of urgency.  If none is forthcoming it should reopen its inquiry into British involvement in the US rendition programme.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Thursday 21 August 2008   UK complicit in extraordinary rendition; Intelligence and Security Committee may have been misled in relation to the rendition of Binyam Mohamed – Tyrie.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “This is an extremely significant ruling on at least two grounds.”   “First, it confirms the concern that led me to form the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition in the beginning, that the UK is complicit in extraordinary rendition.  By that I mean that the UK is complicit in the US programme of kidnapping people and taking them to places where they may be tortured.”   “The judgment makes clear that, contrary to UK protestations to the contrary, the British Government ‘facilitated’ the alleged wrongdoing by the United States in this case.  It is now widely accepted that Binyam Mohamed was tortured when rendered to Morocco, and in a most brutal manner.”   “The judges also held that the UK authorities had facilitated Binyam Mohamed’s treatment at the hands of the US: ‘the relationship of the United Kingdom Government to the United States authorities in connection with BM was far beyond that of bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing’.”     “Secondly, the Intelligence and Security Committee may have been misled over the Binyam Mohamed case.  Following requests from me and others, the Intelligence and Security Committee examined the role of the intelligence services in Binyam Mohamed’s rendition and mistreatment last year.  The Report found that the intelligence services had a ‘lack of knowledge, at that time, of any possible consequences of US custody of detainees’.”   “However, the High Court, having seen the evidence, found that ‘the SyS were supplying information as well as questions which they knew were to be used in interviews of BM from the time of his arrest whilst he was held incommunicado and without access to a lawyer or review by a court or tribunal.  They continued to supply information and questions after they knew of the circumstances of BM’s detention and treatment as contained in the reports of the series of interviews in May 2002 and after September 2002 when they must have appreciated the circumstances related to his continued detention…’ (para 87, x)   ‘the SyS continued to facilitate interviews by the United States authorities after September 2002 when they also knew BM was still incommunicado and when they must have appreciated that he was not in a United States facility and that the facility in which he was being questioned and detained was that of a foreign government…and that the United States authorities had direct access to information being obtained from him’.” (para 88, iv)   “I will be writing to the Committee, to ask it to go back and obtain an explanation.  If this is not forthcoming, the Committee will need to reopen its inquiry into British involvement in the US rendition programme.”   “Extraordinary rendition has made the world less secure from dangerous extremism, not more.  It acts as a recruiting sergeant for extremist groups worldwide.  Extremism can only be tackled from the moral high ground – we cannot afford to undermine the values that we are seeking to export.  It is also important that we get closure on this.  This requires full transparency from the Government so that the public can have confidence the UK will never again be complicit in the US rendition programme.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, House of Commons   Press release: Immediate, 3 July 2008  The Foreign Secretary’s Statement on Rendition today doesn’t take us far – Andrew Tyrie MP.  “It is very regrettable that despite repeated requests by the APPG, the Foreign Secretary has failed to obtain the necessary assurances that British territory was not used for rendition.  Following the revelations that two rendition flights had refuelled at Diego Garcia, I welcomed the Foreign Secretary’s decision to send a list of flights for checking to the US.  But the Foreign Secretary has not asked the right questions.  He has failed to ask questions about flights through the UK on the way to or from a rendition.”   “Providing assistance to a plane on the way to or from a rendition could constitute complicity in any subsequent torture of the detainee.  Yet despite my requests, the Government persists in refusing to ask questions of the US on this issue.  The Foreign Secretary must now ask the US, as a matter of urgency, whether any of the flights on the list that I provided to him, compiled as result of extensive work by others, were on the way to or from a rendition.”   “Any involvement in extraordinary rendition, that is, the process whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured, would be extremely serious.”   Ends.

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Press release: Immediate, Monday 2 June 2008  Fight for Diego Garcia Information goes on: Information Commissioner to Rule on Release of Extraordinary Rendition Assurances - Tyrie  Andrew Tyrie MP said: “It is in everyone’s interest that the truth on rendition comes to light.  Little by little, it is coming out, most recently in relation to the British island of Diego Garcia.”   “The Foreign Secretary has been forced to admit that two rendition planes refuelled at Diego Garcia, despite explicit US assurances to the UK Government that no such flights had taken place.  Clearly people will conclude that these assurances are worthless.  It is now crucial to find out what really was contained in them.  But in response to requests by me the Government has twice refused to release the terms of these assurances.”  “The UK’s policy of reliance on US assurances on all aspects of its extraordinary rendition programme makes their wording crucial.  Their disclosure will allow for a legal assessment of whether or not the UK has breached its obligations under the Convention Against Torture, both with respect to Diego Garcia and to rendition generally.  This is therefore in the public interest.”  “More information is needed.  It is important to be confident that UK officials do not find themselves complicit in kidnap and torture.  That is why I have complained to the Information Commissioner about the Government’s refusal to release this information.”

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Press release: Immediate, Friday 30 May 2008 Transparency needed on ‘black sites’ and floating prisons – Tyrie  Andrew Tyrie MP said: “So-called ‘black sites’ are one of the means by which the US has obstructed accountability and examination of its extraordinary rendition programme, that is, the process whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured.”  “Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition.  The rest will come, in time.  Better for government to be candid now, rather than later.  Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush’s departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism.”

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Press release: Immediate, Friday 30 May 2008    Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The UK Government should be doing all it can to ensure that Binyam Mohamed is either released or faces a trial that we would recognise as fair.  A Guantanamo Bay tribunal that Lord Steyn has described as a ‘kangaroo court’ is not a fair trial.” “The Binyam Mohamed case illustrates many of the flaws in the US policy of extraordinary rendition.  Once kidnapped and maltreated or tortured it becomes difficult to have a fair trial, and in their efforts to keep what may have been going on under wraps crucial information to the defence in such cases can be withheld.” “This whole sorry business continues to corrode respect in the rest of the world for American leadership and western values.  We must now bring closure to extraordinary rendition by ensuring that clear rules banning it are enforced in the US and elsewhere, and we must have greater transparency over the renditions that have already taken place.” Ends.   Notes to Editors:   In June 2006 the APPG held an information session on Binyam Mohamed with his lawyers and experts on intelligence and human rights.  The transcript and briefing pack on this session can be found at www.extraordinaryrendition.org.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons   Press release: Immediate, Wednesday 21 May 2008  MOD policy on extraordinary rendition provides no reassurance – Tyrie  Andrew Tyrie MP said: “Following serious allegations about the treatment of people captured by British Forces and subsequently transferred into the custody of US, Iraqi or Afghan authorities, I asked the Government a number of questions about the safeguards in place to ensure that they are properly treated.  The answers I have received have not reassured me.”   “The MOD appears not to know whether anyone captured by British Forces has subsequently been held in Guantanamo Bay.  And it seems the Government continues to rely on US assurances, despite the concerns of the Intelligence and Security Committee and the recent revelations that assurances on Diego Garcia were unreliable.”    “The recently announced Government review of UK detention practices is welcome, but reluctance to release more information is not.  MOD responses to my requests for further information on this crucial issue appear to amount to a shambles.” “Most worryingly, it is not clear that US, Iraqi, or Afghan authorities would be inhibited from transferring such a person to a place where they may face torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and therefore the current arrangements appear to be inadequate.  That is why I have asked the Defence Committee to look into these serious allegations.”

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, House of Commons   Press release: Immediate, Thursday 24 April 2008  UK Government Blocks Release of Key ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Documents  Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The arrangements in place to ensure that detainees captured by British forces are not subsequently transferred to places where they may be tortured appear to be inadequate.  And government responses to my requests for further information on this crucial issue have been a shambles.”  “Recent Freedom of Information Act requests to the Ministry of Defence have been refused without proper reasons.  The UK government appears not to know where people it captures, and subsequently transfers into US custody, are taken.  It continues to rely on US assurances, which have been called into question by the Intelligence and Security Committee and the recent revelations about Diego Garcia.”  “More information is needed.  The legal protection of our armed forces is clearly in the public interest.  That is why I have written again to request this information.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, House of Commons Press release: Immediate, 21 February 2008 Following the statement today by David Miliband, Andrew Tyrie said: “The Foreign Secretary has been forced to confirm, as I suspected, that Diego Garcia was used to assist renditions. On 16th October I wrote to the Foreign Secretary to raise this with him. My letter to him and the reply from Kim Howells are attached.” “This statement will leave the British public unwilling to trust other assurances we have received from the US.” “We should bear in mind that these extraordinary renditions are probably illegal and certainly unethical. They involve the transport of people who have been kidnapped and, in many cases, the taking of them to places where they may face torture. An anonymous US official directly involved in rendering captives to foreign lands has been quoted as saying ‘We don't kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them’.” “The government needs to go much further than this statement. It should unequivocally condemn the policy of extraordinary rendition. The government should state categorically that rendition is not only morally abhorrent but acts as a recruiting sergeant for extremists and make us in the West less secure, not more.” “Any admission such as this, however belated, should be welcomed. The Foreign Secretary is right to compile a list of all the other flights about which concerns have been expressed. This must include the use of airports in the UK and Overseas Territories for the refuelling of 'planes which have been engaged in a rendition, where the detainee is no longer on board and the plane is on a return flight.” Notes to editors: Andrew Tyrie is Conservative MP for Chichester and Chairman and founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition. Mr Tyrie can be contacted on 020 7219 6371. His office email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The website of the All Party Group is www.extraordinaryrendition.org .