Document Library - Press Releases

Category: 2007
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US policy failure over Guantanamo and rendition exposed, as the Government announces British residents Jamil el-Banna, Abdennour Sameur and Omar Deghayes are to return home from Guantanamo Bay.  Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The US administration’s efforts to reduce the number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay are a reflection of the bankruptcy of the policy that created Guantanamo in the beginning.  Guantanamo Bay is a legal and moral black hole.  I welcome the fact that the three British residents, Jamil el-Banna, Abdennour Sameur and Omar Deghayes, will now live in an environment with due process and the protection of the law.”    “Many of the people at Guantanamo were kidnapped and taken there outside any due process of law.  This would be disgraceful if committed by any country, but is outrageous in the case of a leading western democracy.  The Intelligence and Security Committee found that in the case of Jamil el-Banna, information provided by the British may well have led to his subsequent kidnap and rendition to Guantanamo.”  “After four years the Government finally got round to admitting Guantanamo Bay was wrong.  A condemnation of the US policy of extraordinary rendition – whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured – is also long overdue.  It makes combating terrorism more difficult, not less.  It makes us more vulnerable to terrorism, not less.  It is also morally repugnant.”  “The Government must now do all it can to secure the release of British resident Binyam Mohamed, who is likely to face a Military Commission that our own Law Officers have concluded would not provide a fair trial.”

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On Human Rights Day 2007, Andrew Tyrie MP urges an end to extraordinary rendition. Andrew Tyrie MP said: “US policies such as extraordinary rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be tortured, threaten to erode fundamental liberties which many of us now take for granted.  Yet the UK Government refuses to condemn this policy, or to put in place legislation that will give the public confidence we are not accomplices in the rendition programme.”    “The proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on this day in 1948 was supposed to herald a new age of humanity in the ruins of the Second World War.  But almost sixty years later the UK Government is still reluctant to uphold one of its fundamental provisions: the prohibition on torture.”   “Torture and kidnapping are counterproductive in the battle against dangerous extremism, as well as immoral and illegal.  Today, on Human Rights Day, it is time for our Government publicly to acknowledge this fact.”

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Andrew Tyrie MP has today written to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, requesting that it examines the involvement of the UK in the US rendition programme and the adequacy of current safeguards, as part of its review of the UK in the first session of the Universal Periodic Review.    Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The extent of the United Kingdom’s complicity in the US rendition programme is still unknown.  The Government has been unacceptably reticent in response to questions, has failed to keep proper records and has obstructed a number of Parliamentary enquiries.  This has led many to allege that the Government has, at the very least, been turning a blind eye to possible UK complicity in US rendition flights.”    “Policies like extraordinary rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured, are not only counterproductive in combating terrorism, but illegal under international law.  Yet the UK Government has still not put in place adequate safeguards to give the public confidence that they will not be carried out through or over UK territory.”    “The timely review of the UK by the UN Human Rights Council provides a further opportunity to establish the extent of the UK’s legal involvement in this practice.”    Ends.

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Andrew Tyrie MP receives a reply from Kim Howells MP to his letter on the Westminster Hall Debate on Extraordinary Rendition and the Intelligence and Security Committee Report into Rendition. “The Government has once again confirmed its opposition to torture” said Andrew Tyrie, “Yet refused to condemn the US policy of rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured.” “Policies such as this are clearly counterproductive.  But the UK Government refuses to make an assessment of their effect in combating terrorism.  Secret detention, torture, and Guantanamo Bay act as recruiting sergeants for terrorists worldwide.  They make us in the West less secure, not more.” “It must appear to many that Britain’s opposition to torture is opposition in name alone.  The Government can restore some credibility in this area of policy by publicly condemning the US policy of extraordinary rendition.” Ends.

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Andrew Tyrie MP has today written to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, requesting that it investigates allegations of the use of British Territory in the US rendition programme as part of its inquiry into the Overseas Territories. Andrew Tyrie MP said: “There have been repeated allegations that the US has used the British Territory of Diego Garcia in its rendition programme.  Yet the Government has done next to nothing to investigate them.”  “Time and time again the UK Government has relied on US assurances on this issue, refusing to examine the truth of these allegations for themselves.  These assurances come from the same Government that invented the rendition programme, authorised the use of techniques that all in the civilized world would call torture, and continues to hold hundreds in the moral and legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay.”  “The UK Government continues to turn a blind eye to breaches of the rule of law.  Extraordinary rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured, demands its attention.  It is high time our Government took its head out of the sand and looked into these allegations for itself.”  Ends.

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Responding to the publication of the Oxford Research Group report Towards Sustainable Security – Alternatives to the War on Terror, Andrew Tyrie MP urges the Government to call for an end to extraordinary rendition. Andrew Tyrie MP said: “It can come as no surprise to anyone that the many disproportionate responses to the terror threat have been deemed a ‘disaster’ by this highly respected think tank.”  “Policies such as extraordinary rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured, are clearly counterproductive.  As the report acknowledges, they act as a recruiting sergeant for extremist groups worldwide.”  “In recent days we have had confirmation that the US Government carries out waterboarding on its detainees, and other interrogation methods that all in the civilised world would consider torture.  Those less fortunate who end up in secret detention, possibly in Syria or Jordan, face horrors that we can barely imagine.  The report’s call to end extraordinary rendition and secret detention is the latest in a long line of similar findings, yet this Government continues to turn a blind eye to breaches of the rule of law.”  “The Government’s current position regarding extraordinary rendition is now untenable.  The Prime Minister should call immediately for an end to extraordinary rendition.” Ends.

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Andrew Tyrie MP writes to Kim Howells MP demanding an end to Government silence on rendition. “There are still too many unanswered questions on rendition” said Andrew Tyrie, “And too many broken Government promises.”   “The Government’s response to the highly critical Intelligence and Security Committee Report into Rendition has been inadequate.  The Government still can’t give the public confidence that extraordinary renditions through the UK have not happened in the past, and will not happen in the future.”  “I asked Kim Howells the following questions during the Westminster Hall debate on Extraordinary Rendition in June, and received no response.  I am now asking them again:  1.      What is the Government’s view on the claim by George Bush that intelligence gathered from renditions thwarted specific attacks on the UK, including attacks aimed at Canary Wharf and Heathrow airport?  2.      Does the UK Government believe that extraordinary rendition is morally wrong, as they now believe that Guantanamo Bay is wrong?  3.      What assessment has been made of its overall effectiveness as an anti-terrorist tool?  4.      Do the Government agree with Sir Richard Dearlove’s comments that rendition has damaged the ability of the UK and the US to recruit high-quality spies?  5.      What is the UK’s policy on the CIA’s programme of so-called high-value prisoner transfers?  6.      Does the Government believe that when a CIA chartered plane comes to the UK, it falls in the category of state aircraft for the purpose of permission, or in the category of civilian aircraft?  7.      What steps has the Government taken to check allegations that UK intelligence personnel travelled in a number of planes that were being used for rendition? I am also asking Dr Howells:  8.      In the light of these facts and the findings of the Intelligence and Security Committee, have your officials considered the merits of new legislation on this issue as promised during the debate?  9.    If so, what is their assessment?  10.     What harm could the introduction of new legislation do, to both the accountability of the Government and public confidence that our international obligations are being respected?”   “During the debate Kim Howells even likened those who believe it is possible that Ministers may not have been kept fully informed on these issues to conspiracy theorists.  The only conspiracy is a conspiracy of silence at the heart of Government in response to questions such as those listed above.”  Ends.

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On the anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks, Andrew Tyrie MP urges respect for the rule of law and an end to extraordinary rendition in the fight against terrorism. Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The devastating terrorist attacks six years ago to this day shocked the world.  But the battle against extremism can only be won from the moral high ground.”  “US policies such as extraordinary rendition, whereby people have been kidnapped around the world and taken to places where they may be maltreated or tortured, are not the answer to the terrorist threat we continue to face.  Yet it is through this practise that many people, including UK residents, have been transported to the legal and moral black hole of Guantanamo Bay.” “The Government has repeatedly refused to condemn this practise, despite continual requests from my Parliamentary colleagues and me in debates, Parliamentary Questions, and correspondence.  It took four years for the last Prime Minister to condemn Guantanamo Bay.  Those in secret detention centres around the world cannot wait another four for the current Prime Minister to find the courage to accept that extraordinary rendition is wrong.” “Kidnapping and torture corrode the very values that we are seeking to export and make future attacks more likely, not less.”

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PRESS RELEASE FROM ANDREW TYRIE 25th July 2007 for immediate release Statement on the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee Report Andrew Tyrie said:“This report is extremely critical of the US practice of extraordinary rendition. It is also critical of the way in which the US authorities disregarded the terms on which the British security services passed information about Bisher Al Rawi and Jamil el Banna. Ignoring British protests the Americans nevertheless rendered them. “The report is also critical of British Security Services who were slow to appreciate the fundamental change in US rendition policy and who, along with other government agencies, also appeared to show gross lapses in record keeping. “Four years after it was set up, and only after he was probably forced into it by his Law Officers, Tony Blair at least succeeded in condemning Guantanamo Bay as wrong. “Today, in response to a question from me the Prime Minister refused to condemn extraordinary rendition, the practice whereby the United States have engaged in kidnapping and people and taking them to places where they may be tortured. “This same policy is being vigorously condemned by many in Washington, both Republican and Democrat. This is the price the Prime Minister of Britain is paying for remaining so wedded to the policy he has inherited of “hugging the Americans close”." Notes to editors: Andrew Tyrie wrote to the Intelligence and Security Committee on 3rd May 2006 asking them to look at the issue of Extraordinary Rendition and suggested specific questions which he felt needed to be addressed. He gave extensive evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee on 30th October 2006. 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 0207 219 6371. His office email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (mailto: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

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons Press release from Andrew Tyrie Tuesday 7th August 2007 immediate release The Foreign Secretary’s decision to call for the release of these UK residents is the right one. It is belated, as was the government’s decision to condemn Guantanamo Bay. It took four years for that to be condemned as wrong. It is now time that the Prime Minister and his government condemned the US policy of extraordinary rendition, which has put many people, including some British residents, into Guantanamo. Under this programme the US has been kidnapping people around the world and taking them to places where they may be maltreated or tortured. This is not only immoral it is also counter productive. It corrodes the very values that we are seeking to export and makes us less secure, not more. The Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on extraordinary rendition was extremely critical of the US practice of extraordinary rendition. It was also critical of the way in which the US authorities disregarded the terms on which the British security services passed information about Bisher Al Rawi and Jamil el Banna. Ignoring British protests the Americans nevertheless rendered them. It is unacceptable that in the light of this, when I asked Gordon Brown if he would condemn the US policy of extraordinary rendition he flatly refused. In doing so he is not only distancing himself from a large section of the US Senate and Congress – both Republican and Democrat - who oppose the policy but he also seems to be disregarding the advice of his own Intelligence and Security Committee as well as that of the Deputy Prime Minister who just a few months ago called for legislation to address rendition. Notes to editors: Andrew Tyrie wrote to the Intelligence and Security Committee on 3rd May 2006 asking them to look at the issue of Extraordinary Rendition and suggested specific questions which he felt needed to be addressed. He gave extensive evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee on 30th October 2006. The Intelligence and Security Committee’s Report was released on 25th July 2007. 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 0207 219 6371. His office email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (mailto: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 .