News / Europe

British Government Pays Compensation to Former Guantanamo Detainees

Binyam Mohamed, foreground, belongs to a group of former Guantanamo Bay detainees who together sued the British government for alleged complicity in torture, 23 Feb 2009 (file photo)
Binyam Mohamed, foreground, belongs to a group of former Guantanamo Bay detainees who together sued the British government for alleged complicity in torture, 23 Feb 2009 (file photo)

The British government announced it will pay compensation to former Guantanamo Bay detainees, rather than enter into a major legal battle with the men.  The former detainees accuse British security forces of colluding in their torture overseas. 

Britain's Justice Secretary Ken Clarke made the announcement. "The government has now agreed a mediated settlement of the civil damages claims brought by detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, " he said.

The money will go to 16 men who were detained by United States forces at Guantanamo Bay.  The sum has not been made public.

The men claim British officials were aware of or complicit in their torture overseas.

They launched a damages claim against British intelligence agencies.  Clarke said the settlement package will avoid a major legal battle. "No admissions of culpability have been made in settling these cases and nor have any of the claimants withdrawn their allegations," he said.

Clarke said a legal battle would have been drawn out and expensive.  And he said national security could have been put at risk.

In May, the Court of Appeal in Britain ruled that allegations of wrongdoing could not be heard in a closed court, which could have brought secret intelligence information into the public domain.

The settlement makes way for an independent inquiry into how much the British government knew about the treatment of detainees overseas.

Alice Wyss, of the human-rights group Amnesty International, says that investigation is important. "There continues to be a pressing need for full and public disclosure about the truth of these allegations, that the U.K. was involved in mistreatment of individuals detained abroad," she said. "And the forthcoming inquiry, which the Prime Minister announced in July, provides us with an opportunity for exactly that."

She says many countries in Europe are looking to make governments more accountable for human-rights violations that take place during counter-terrorism operations abroad.

"We would want to see similar moves being made in the U.S., where there is clear evidence that the U.S. was involved and has committed grave human rights violations and under international law the U.S. is obliged to investigate them and hold individuals to account and we would like to see that happening," said Wyss.

One of the former detainees who received compensation, Binyam Mohamed, claims Britain knew he had been sent by the U.S. security agency to Morocco where his genitals were sliced with a scalpel during interrogation.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More