A resounding NO to the use of torture

REDRESS, the international NGO that represents torture survivors in the UK and abroad, joins other organisations in calling for the Government to avoid any and all complicity in torture.

REDRESS recognises the duty of all States to protect those within their borders from terrorism, but reminds that the prohibition against torture is absolute and fundamental – it is not a privilege that can be sacrificed by Government.

Admitting torture evidence is a slap in the face to the thousands of torture survivors that live in the UK, stated Carla Ferstman, REDRESS’ Director.

This is part of a spiraling counter-terrorism policy, which is quickly eroding this most basic of civil liberties, she continued.

REDRESS SAYS NO to using evidence obtained by torture in UK courts

  • Using torture evidence in any proceeding (other than when it is to prove that the torture occurred) is illegal for good reason: it makes a mockery of the rule of law and gives a green light to torturers around the world.
  • Even when the torture takes place in some other country by foreign officials, when we use that evidence in an English court, we legitimize the way it was obtained.
  • The Convention against Torture, which the Government has signed up to and ratified, forbids the use of torture evidence – if the UK ignores this, it is flouting its international obligations.  
  • The Government has indicated that campaigning against torture worldwide is a central component of its foreign policy –how can using any torture evidence at home promote this policy? 

REDRESS is one of 14 intervening organizations in the Case of A, where the House of Lords will examine the Government’s attempt to use evidence that may have been obtained through torture.

They are:

  • The Advice Centre on Individual Rights in Europe (the AIRE Centre)
  • Amnesty International
  • The Association for the Prevention of Torture
  • British Irish Rights Watch
  • The Committee on the Administration of Justice
  • Doctors for Human Rights
  • Human Rights Watch
  • The International Federation of Human Rights
  • The Law Society of England and Wales
  • Liberty
  • The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture
  • The World Organisation Against Torture

They are represented in this case, pro bono, by Keir Starmer, QC, Mark Henderson, Joseph Middleton, Peter Morris, Laura Dubinsky, Professor Nick Grief all of Doughty Street Chambers, and Leigh Day and Co. Solicitors: Richard Stein, Jamie Beagent,  Jo Hickman, and Rosa Curling.

REDRESS was founded by a British torture survivor in 1992. Since then, it has consistently fought for the rights of survivors in the UK and abroad. REDRESS takes legal challenges on behalf of survivors – it works to ensure that torturers are punished and that survivors and their families obtain remedies for their suffering. REDRESS cooperates with civil society groups around the world to eradicate the practice of torture once and for all and to ensure that survivors can move forward with their lives in dignity. More information on our work is available on our website: www.redress.org