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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, December 9, 2005

Supremes ban all evidence gained by torture.

Unfortunately for us here in the US, it wasn't our Supremes that made the decision. Instead, it was the UK's law lords — effectively that country's supreme court — who told Tony Blair's government that any evidence obtained through the use of torture is inadmissible in British courts. In making their ruling, the law lords demanded that the UK's secret anti-terror courts re-examine the cases of eight terrorist currently being detained to ensure that none of the evidence supporting those detentions was gained via torture.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the former Lord Chief Justice, who headed the panel of law lords, said the English law had regarded "torture and its fruits" with abhorrence for more than 500 years.

He said he was "startled, even a little dismayed" that "this deeply rooted tradition and an international obligation solemnly and explicitly undertaken" could be overriden by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), which oversees the detention of terror suspects.

Lord Hoffmann, a fellow law lord, said the use of torture corrupted and degraded the state that used it and the legal system that accepted it. In a reference to Guantanamo Bay, he said that many Americans have felt their country "dishonoured" by its use of torture outside its own jurisdiction and the practice of moving suspects to countries where torture is practised.

It would be nice to hear such principled language from US jurists, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, in Europe, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice continued to vacillate on the issue of whether the US uses torture in the 'war on terrorism,' responding to European concerns about secret US prisons and 'renditions' of terror suspects by making statements that were so riddled with exceptions that you could march Saddam's entire Mukhabarat through them.

Via UK Independent, AP, and LA Times.

| | Posted by Magpie at 3:08 AM | Get permalink




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