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Thu May 10, 2012, 02:13 AM

Secret justice plans will put Government above the law ( UK,torture, MI5/6, CIA)

"The government has accelerated plans to expand secret hearings into civil courts. Rather than moving to the preparatory white paper stage, a justice and security bill will be put through parliament this session.

The government has come under severe pressure from MI5 and MI6 to draw up a law imposing a system of secret courts ever since it was disclosed that the security and intelligence agencies had been involved in the brutal treatment, and knew of the torture, of UK residents and citizens detained by the CIA.

So-called closed material procedures would allow sensitive evidence to be given in court but not seen by all the participants. Defendants or claimants and their courtroom representatives would be barred from the closed part of the hearing, removing the adversarial nature of the justice system.

Ken Clarke, the justice secretary, has said the powers are needed to reassure other countries, particularly the US, that they can continue to share intelligence without fear of it being exposed in British courts."




2011

"Intelligence gathered by MI5 and MI6, even if obtained by torture, will never be disclosed in court proceedings and more inquests would be heard in private under proposals announced by the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke.

Under the government's plans, all "sensitive" information held by MI5 and MI6 would be discussed in secret court hearings. "Special advocates", security vetted and approved by the government, would see the information on behalf of individual defendants or claimants but not would not be able to reveal it to them.

"In many cases, the facts cannot … be used in open court … without risking serious damage to national security or international relations ," Clarke said."



Responding to the plans for 'secret justice' and closed courts set out in the Queen's Speech today, Reprieve's Executive Director, Clare Algar said:

“Closed courts will not strengthen oversight of the intelligence agencies – in fact, they will do precisely the opposite. They will put the Government above the law.

“The proposals for secret justice would massively skew courts in favour of ministers, and prevent the public from finding out the truth about serious wrongdoing.

“The reality is that these plans are designed to spare the intelligence agencies embarrassment. They are a recipe for unfair and unaccountable Government.”

Reprieve’s Legal Director, Cori Crider, said:

“If you think closed courts are a good idea, go talk to Khadidja al-Saadi, who Britain helped render to Gaddafi in 2004 when she was only twelve. This is a clear effort to cover up her case, the Belhadj case, and those like them – to stop the airing of the dirty laundry of the ‘War on Terror.’ The British public should not stand for it.”


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