Queen’s Speech secret justice plans will put Government above the law

Responding to the plans for ‘secret justice’ and closed courts set out in the Queen’s Speech today, Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar said: “Closed courts will not strengthen oversight of the intelligence agencies – in fact, they will do precisely the opposite. They will put the Government above the law. “The proposals for secret justice would massively skew courts in favour of ministers, and prevent the public from finding out the truth about serious wrongdoing. “The reality is that these plans are designed to spare the intelligence agencies embarrassment.  They are a recipe for unfair and unaccountable Government.” Reprieve’s Legal Director, Cori Crider, said: “If you think closed courts are a good idea, go talk to Khadidja al-Saadi, who Britain helped render to Gaddafi in 2004 when she was only twelve.  This is a clear effort to cover up her case, the Belhadj case, and those like them – to stop the airing of the dirty laundry of the ‘War on Terror.’ The British public should not stand for it.” ENDS Notes to editors 1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: 0207 427 1082 / 07791 755 415 / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk 2. The Queen’s Speech stated that: “My Government will introduce legislation to strengthen oversight of the security and intelligence agencies. This will also allow courts, through the limited use of closed proceedings, to hear a greater range of evidence in national security cases.” 3. Further information on the Government’s proposals for secret justice – or ‘Closed Material Procedures’ – can be found on Reprieve’s website: http://reprieve.org.uk/investigations/secret_justice

4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ 

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