Monday, September 20, 2010

Latest Campaigns - Ahmed Belbacha/ Extraordinary Rendition

- Ahmed Belbacha
In July, we launched a letter-writing campaign asking the public to write to their MPs and the Foreign Office demanding that the UK allows Ahmed Belbacha to settle in the UK. He faces the imminent threat of forced repatriation to Algeria where his life is at risk. Although a letter was initially sent by the LGC to the Foreign Secretary in June, there has to date been no response to any letters sent. It is unfortunate that the Foreign Office does not understand the concept of "urgency". The government continues to drag its heels over Guantánamo Bay. Britain has not "done enough" to help the Americans close the prison and with Germany accepting another prisoner just last week, we urge you to continue writing to your MPs and the Foreign Secretary. if you have not heard from your MP, write to them to ask why and if they have forwarded your concerns. It has been almost 10 years since Ahmed Belbacha left the UK; the previous government's argument that his immigration status was illegal is thus wholly irrelevant and Britain should accept Mr. Belbacha on humanitarian grounds. Please continue to use the points raised in our action letter as a guide when writing to your MP/the Foreign Office:
- Extraordinary Rendition
At the Liberal Democrat party conference yesterday in Liverpool, a motion was passed unanimously concerning the forthcoming torture inquiry: While in part an attack on the former Labour government, the motion calls for the terms of the inquiry, as proposed by the current government, to be clarified and for "all evidence and questioning to be public and calls on the Prime Minister to commit to publish all the inquiry’s conclusions, except where such publicity or publication would genuinely compromise operational effectiveness" (6). The motion also calls for accountability which has previously been lacking in any talk about the inquiry since June. The passing of this motion is a positive step, however we ask supporters who live in constituencies with Liberal Democrat MPs to write to them ( to ask them how their party, a part of the current coalition government, intends to have their motion upheld and supported by the government, to ensure these clarifications are made and that there is wider transparency and accountability in this process. While many relevant issues of concern to the public are raised in the motion, it fails to mention the fact that the inquiry, as set out by the Prime Minister, intends to look into "mistreatment by the security services" and not enforced "disappearance", rendition and torture. Mistreatment has no legal value and has yet to be defined or "clarified". Please write to your Liberal Democrat MP, if applicable, to raise your concerns.