Counter-terrorism

Since 2001 there has been an increase in the use of counter-terrorism laws to challenge the absolute prohibition of torture. Governments around the world – in democracies and dictatorships – have tortured people in the interests of “national security”.

REDRESS works with other NGOs to maintain the international standards that apply in counter-terrorism situations, including extraordinary rendition, administrative detention without trial, and government crack-downs through emergency laws.

We have highlighted the impact of counter-terrorism and security legislation against torture, and advocated for the compliance of such laws with the absolute prohibition of torture in all situations.

We have also drawn attention to the absolute prohibition of the use of torture evidence. Legal proceedings are tainted when there is a reliance on illegal methods of interrogation. The ban on torture evidence also helps to remove the incentive for police and other officials to use torture to obtain confessions, since it will inhibit convictions where torture was used.

REDRESS seeks to ensure that States’ counter-terrorism efforts respect and guarantee the right to be free from torture at all costs by:

  • Continuing to seek accountability for the abuses of the “War on Terror” and to draw attention to attempts to replicate the CIA extraordinary program elsewhere.
  • Fighting States’ attempts to encroach on the absolute prohibition of torture in the name of counter-terrorism.
  • Challenging rendition to torture in Europe, Africa, the US, and Iraq in a number of cases, including those of Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Andargachew Tsege and Kamilya Tuweni, and intervening in a number of additional cases, including those of Mahrer Arar, Khaled El-Masri and Abdul Hakim Belhaj.
  • Intervening in a range of cases to uphold the absolute ban on torture evidence, including A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, which resulted in the landmark Law Lords’ unanimous ruling that evidence obtained by torture is inadmissible in British courts.
  • Working with a coalition of NGOs engaged in advocating for an independent inquiry into the UK’s complicity in torture and rendition post-2001.

Recent reports on this issue: