Wednesday, April 12, 2006

the shame of guantánemo

[warning: following post entirely cobbled together with cut and paste from the Guardian website - still worth reading though...]

A powerful and authoritive comment from an eminent former law lord, Lord Steyn, appears in the Guardian today. Steyn, who made international headlines in 2003 when he described the indefinite detention of terror suspects without charge or trial at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba as "a legal black hole" attacked Guantánamo Bay as "a stain on American justice" last night and said Tony Blair's refusal to condemn it was "shaming for our country".

Lord Steyn is now the chairman of the civil rights group Justice, and said (amongst other things - you can read his quotes in more detail here)...

"As a lawyer brought up to admire American democratic values, I feel compelled to say that Guantánamo Bay is a stain on American justice. Only the present administration of the United States tries to defend the utterly indefensible.

Unfortunately, our prime minister is not prepared to go further than to say that Guantánamo Bay is an understandable anomaly. In its feebleness this response to a flagrant breach of the rule of law, reminiscent of the worst actions of totalitarian states, is shaming for our country.

While our government condones Guantánamo Bay the world is perplexed about our approach to the rule of law. But I hope the world also knows that if the matter was within the jurisdiction of British courts, our judges would unanimously condemn Guantánamo Bay.

You may ask: how will it help in regard to the continuing outrage at Guantánamo Bay for our government now to condemn it? The answer is that it would at last be a powerful signal to the world that Britain supports the international rule of law."

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