FOREIGN Secretary David Miliband has lost a bid to block public disclosure of intelligence information relating to torture allegations in the case of former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed.
Three of Britain’s highest-ranking judges dismissed his appeal against an earlier court ruling that summaries of information received by the British security services from United States intelligence should be disclosed.
The Court of Appeal decision was hailed by international media as a “resounding victory for freedom of speech”. But Mr Miliband told MPs that the ruling was leading to a “great deal of concern” in the USA.
In a statement to the Commons he said he had fought to prevent the release of the information to defend the “fundamental” principle that intelligence shared with the UK would be protected.
This “control principle” was essential to the relationship between the UK and the US.
Mr Miliband said he had spoken with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton about the case, which was being “followed carefully at the highest levels in the US system with a great deal of concern”.
He said the treatment of Mr Mohamed went against British principles, but it was not carried out by the UK.
Today’s judgement was the latest ruling in long-running proceedings arising out of the case of British resident Mr Mohamed, who says he was tortured in Pakistan while held by the CIA, with the knowledge of the British.
Mr Miliband said any mistreatment and torture of prisoners “violated the most basic principles of this country, never mind our national and international obligations”.
One of the key paragraphs released after yesterday’s decision was announced was that the reported treatment of Mr Mohamed “could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Binyam Mohamed by the United States authorities”.
Mr Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, was detained in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism and then “rendered” to Morocco and Afghanistan.
He was sent to the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2004.
Now back in the UK, he is fighting to prove that the British authorities helped to facilitate his detention and knew about his ill-treatment in Pakistan.