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WAR: UK Law Lords outlaw evidence obtained by Torture

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posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 05:16 AM
The UK Law Lords (our version of the Supreme Court) have ruled that evidence that could have been obtained by torture is not allowed to be presented in cases against terrorist suspects. They have also ruled that the Special Immigration Appeals Court must investigate the provenance of evidence to see whether it was obtained by torture.
In his judgement, Lord Carswell said: "The duty not to countenance the use of torture by admission of evidence in judicial proceedings must be regarded as paramount and to allow its admission would shock the conscience, abuse or degrade the proceedings and involve the state in moral defilement."

Daily Telegraph legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg told BBC News 24 the ruling was a "very significant blow for the government".

He said it would not be enough for suspects simply to say the evidence against them had been obtained under torture - it was up to SIAC to investigate their claims.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I think that this ruling goes to the heart of the struggle against Terror - how far do we (ie the government and judiciary) become like those we're supposedly fighting? If we do - will our 'victory' / struggle be worth it? I'm glad the Lords have come out with this ruling, it shows that some people in this country have not been cowed by the Blair bullying machine.

Related News Links:

[edit on 8-12-2005 by hands]

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 05:23 AM
Well thank God there is still some common sense left in the world.
Torture is immoral and illegal and should not be admissible in a court of law.
It is incredible that in this day and age, we need to be reminded of these simple truths.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 06:35 AM
I agree - there has to be a dividing line between *us* and *them*. If there is none - what's the point?

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 09:15 AM
OK, but what is torture? Who makes that definition? What one person says is torture may just seem like a good but tough interrogation technique to another.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 09:20 AM
Sounds like good sense to me. And if they have trouble defining torture, they might refer to international law.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 09:29 AM
I'm thinging that part of this decision isn't just because of the questionable nature of torture, but also because evidence and testimonies obtained trough torture is inherently unreliable.

When being tortured you tend to tell your attackers whatever you think they want to hear.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 02:35 PM
ok, but like djohn said, what constitutes torture? i ask because most of the reports i've heard have been things like sleep deprivation....methods used on our own troops in order to get them ready for real world combat. methods that have been proven to work without causing actual harm to an individual.

there is a huge difference between interrogation techniques and torture techniques. of course, that tends to get ignored by the left.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 02:51 PM


there is a huge difference between interrogation techniques and torture techniques. of course, that tends to get ignored by the left.

It doesn't matter. Torture is defined by international law. Britain simply has decided to follow the law, and abide by international agreements.

posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 03:33 PM
The thing I find confusing about the sleep deprivation issue is that it appears that the US has condemned other countries for this practice.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The law provides prisoners with the right to humane treatment and provides prisoners the right to an attorney; however, the police and security forces sometimes abuse detainees physically and verbally during detention and interrogation, and allegedly also use torture. Allegations of torture are difficult to verify because the police and security officials frequently deny detainees timely access to lawyers, despite legal provisions requiring such access. The most frequently alleged methods of torture include sleep deprivation, beatings on the soles of the feet, prolonged suspension with ropes in contorted positions, and extended solitary confinement. Defendants in high-profile cases before the State Security Court claimed to have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse while in detention. Government officials deny allegations of torture and abuse.


PA security officials torture and abuse prisoners by threatening, hooding, beating, and tying detainees in painful positions, forcing them to stand for long periods of time, depriving them of sleep and food, and burning detainees with cigarettes and hot instruments.

Palestinian Authority

Commonly employed methods of torture reported by the HRF's treatment centers include: Systematic beatings; stripping and blindfolding; exposure to extreme cold or high-pressure cold water hoses; electric shocks; beatings on the soles of the feet (falaka) and genitalia; hanging by the arms; food and sleep deprivation; heavy weights hung on the body; water dripped onto the head; burns; hanging sandbags on the neck; near-suffocation by placing bags over the head; vaginal and anal rape with truncheons and, in some instances, gun barrels; squeezing and twisting of testicles; and other forms of sexual abuse.


While I can see lots of worse things on these lists, if the US doesn't view sleep deprivation as torture why are they referencing it in the State Dept. reports on Human Rights? I'm not the one calling it torture, the State Department is.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 02:15 PM
outside of any moral issues, confessions obtained by torture should be in admissible because its useless. People can say anything under torture.

However, its intersting to note that physical evidence obtained by torture would be ruled out here. Such that if somone is tortured, and they give up the location of a terror cell, that that can't be used in a trial against the terror cell once they are caught.

Or if the saudis or jordanians are holding a prisoner, and they tell the Brits that he gave evidence over to them, that evidence would almost allways be rejected here, since these are states that commonly and expertly use torture.

I suspect that in these cases the definition of torture simply won't be a critical issue, that it will be more or less clear cut, with perhaps something like water-boarding being the only 'gray' area, sinceits not legally, in the US, torture.

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