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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

British Parliament Demands |Info on Torture & Rendition

WASHINGTON (CN) - Members of the British Parliament have sued the United States, demanding documents on extraordinary rendition, secret detention and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition and its chairman, a Conservative MP, sued the Departments of Defense, Justice, State, and Homeland Security and the CIA.

The All Party Parliamentary Group, which includes more than 60 members of Parliament, wants the records to determine the United Kingdom's role in assisting the United States by "facilitating such practices, including allowing over-flight or refueling of planes through or on UK territory or airspace, or by allowing UK territories to be used to hold detainees."

According to the complaint: "In February 2008, the UK's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, announced he had received information from the United States Government contravening earlier assurances given by the United States that the UK territory of Diego Garcia had not been, and would not be, used for extraordinary renditions."

The group says investigations have revealed that Diego Garcia was used for rendition on at least two occasions.

It also cites a former member of a UK Special Forces unit who alleged that detainees were turned over "to face mistreatment at the hands of the United States."

The group says it submitted requests to the five defendant agencies on Nov. 17, 2008. It sought records pertaining to agreements between the U.S. and the U.K. for transferring, rendering, holding, or turning over detainees, or using U.K. territories for coercive interrogation. It also sought information on the identity, location and treatment of specific detainees, and the source of information about specific alleged terrorist plots.

It says Homeland Security and the Department of Justice responded with small amounts of records that were "heavily redacted." The Department of State never responded, and the CIA sent a letter saying that it was not obligated to release such information to foreign governments or their entities.

But the APPG says that it is not a foreign governmental entity, that "it has no official status within Parliament."

The group wants a declaration that it is not a representative of a foreign government, and that the United States has violated the Freedom of Information Act. And it wants the documents.

Plaintiffs include Andrew Tyrie, a Conservative MP and chairman of the APPG, and Joe Cyr, a U.S. citizen and attorney who directs the Lovells LLP law firm's litigation and arbitration practice in the United States.

The APPG is represented by Jonathan Abram with Hogan Hartson.

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