Torture expert attacks deportation
Press Association, Saturday August 26, 2006
A court ruling allowing the Government to deport a foreign terror suspect to Algeria has been strongly criticised by the leading United Nations expert on torture.
Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said that the Algerian regime still practised torture and that the suspect – known only as Y – should not be returned there.
On Thursday, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that Y – who had previously been cleared by an Old Bailey jury over the so-called « ricin plot » – could be sent back.
Mr Justice Ouseley accepted that high level assurances, given last year by the Algerian government to Tony Blair that deportees from Britain would not be tortured, would be honoured.
The ruling was seen as a major victory for the Government in its legal battle to remove foreign terror suspects to countries where there are concerns about the use of torture.
However Mr Nowak warned that such diplomatic promises could never be relied upon when it came to torture.
« Governments always deny that they are torturing and it takes place in secret, so diplomatic assurances in the case of torture are no guarantee and therefore should not be resorted to, » he told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.
In order for such assurances to have any value, he said, there would have to be a « fully watertight monitoring mechanism », which currently did not exist.
« Algeria, notwithstanding the fact that there were certain improvements recently, still is resorting to torture methods, » he said.
« As long as this is the case. a person like Mr Y who actually has been subjected to torture, who is a member of a high risk group, definitely falls under this category of persons who are under a certain risk and therefore cannot be deported to Algeria. »