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Saturday, October 22, 2005

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Marco Polo

On a more grisly, yet up-to-date, note, Martin Bright writes in the New Stateman
http://www.newstatesman.com/200510240003
about the last-minute discussions surrounding the proposal to permit testimony extracted under torture to be accepted in courts in the UK: "In Committee Room 1 in the Commons, the future of our democracy is in the balance. Here the law lords are being asked to sweep aside 250 years of legal precedent...the future of our democracy was being decided. Here the law lords were meeting to hear an appeal against a high court ruling last August that evidence obtained under torture in other countries could be used in courts in England and Wales.

When I attended, the rest of the media pack was nowhere to be seen and not a single front-bench MP from any party was present. In this small room, with just enough public seats to hold the lawyers, interested parties and a handful of spectators, their lordships were being asked to overturn a decision that sweeps aside 250 years of legal precedent. If last summer's decision stands, evidence extracted by torture will be admissible in terrorist cases as long as no British official has connived in the abuses....The law lords should perhaps visit the "Gunpowder Plot" exhibition in parliament's Westminster Hall, a short walk from Committee Room 1, where they can see the crushed, barely legible signature of the tortured Fawkes, before they make their decision on reintroducing this barbaric practice to our courts."
I found the article posted on the blog of Craig Murray
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/weblog.html
Craig knows something about torture: "Craig Murray helped unmask the tyrannical "Karimov" regime, in Uzbekistan. While others kept quiet, our [UK ambassador] man in Tashkent hit the headlines, working to expose the mass-murder at the heart of this Central Asian dictatorship."

Josie

Many thanks for this informative and timely comment Marco - really appreciate it.

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