A British resident now held at Guantanamo Bay has won an order in the US courts requiring the country’s government to hand over material that might help his defence against terrorism charges, it was revealed at the High Court in London
Binyam Mohamed, 30, insists that he admitted to plotting a dirty radioactive bomb attack on the United States only after being tortured by having his penis cut with a razor.
Recently his London lawyers won a High Court ruling that David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, should reconsider his refusal to let the Muslim convert’s lawyers see papers that might help clear his name.
The case revealed how the British security services co-operated with the US in the interrogation of terrorism suspects who were moved from country to country and held in secret locations.
Mohamed’s London lawyers say information held by the British security services could support his allegations of torture. They want it disclosed to his US legal team in a bid to prevent a convening authority referring charges against Mohamed to a US military commission at Guantanamo.
They say the Foreign Secretary, despite the recent High Court ruling, is still unlawfully failing to disclose information.
At a preliminary hearing, two judges were told that a US Federal Court sitting in Washington had now ordered the US government, in habeas corpus proceedings, to provide any potentially “exculpatory material” to Mohamed’s American lawyers by October 6.
This is material that might show what happened to the Ethiopian national between 2002 and 2004 – the period when he alleges he was held in communicado in Pakistan, secretly rendered to Morocco and tortured, before being subsequently flown to Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo Bay in September 2004.
Ben Jaffey, appearing for Mohamed, told the judges that this was “a welcome development” in the US, but at present the scope of the disclosure ordered was unknown.
Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, said the US proceedings could influence what happened in the English courts.