US torture victim offered new hope


US authorities agreed for British officials to visit torture victim Binyam Mohamed in Guantanamo Bay on Wednesday to help make preparations for his return to Britain.

They made the announcement hours after his lawyers launched a new High Court bid to have evidence of his ill-treatment made public.

Two judges refused to order the disclosure last week of secret CIA documents on British resident Mr Mohamed, who remains in Guantanamo Bay despite having all terror charges dropped against him last year.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled in London that the dossier should remain secret because the US had threatened to withdraw co-operation in terror cases.

But Mr Mohamed’s solicitors Leigh Day and Co and human rights group Reprieve launched a bid to persuade the judges to reconsider their decision.

They argued that the court had relied on misleading evidence provided by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who, during last week’s hearing, backtracked on his claim of a US threat to withdraw intelligence co-operation.

Leigh Day partner Richard Stein pointed out that Mr Miliband now claims that the decision was based on “a mutual understanding” about how to treat intelligence material.

Mr Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He claims that he was secretly flown to Morocco and tortured before being sent to Guantanamo in 2004.

The Ethiopian national says the evidence against him was based on confessions extracted by torture and ill-treatment by US and British secret services.

Yvonne Bradley, the US military counsel representing Mr Mohamed, arrived in London on Tuesday to press ministers to disclose the evidence and ensure a speedy release for her client.

And in a statement released after a meeting with Ms Bradley, Mr Miliband stressed that Mr Mohamed’s return would depend on the outcome of a review of Guantanamo cases initiated by President Barack Obama.

But he said the US administration had agreed to treat Mr Mohamed’s case as “a priority,” adding that Britain was working with Washington for “a swift resolution.”

Ms Bradley told a press conference in central London that Mr Mohamed was “nothing but skin and bones” when she visited him a fortnight ago.