Torture and the British Courts: Compelling Evidence

Should British courts consider evidence which may have been obtained through torture in foreign countries? The House of Lords is about to decide, and that decision may affect the freedom of people suspected of links to terrorism.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 November 2005 2 minute READ

Joanne Foakes

The law lords are set to hear an appeal brought by ten foreign nationals detained under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The court will consider whether or not statements extracted by foreign government officials, possibly under torture, should be admissible as evidence in British courts.

The issue has gained prominence, following recent allegations by the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. He has accused the British government of using information received from the authorities in Tashkent which had been obtained by torturing political dissidents. Indeed, he put those allegations at the centre of his political campaign for election last May, in the Blackburn constituency of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

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