Monthly Archives: June 2010

  The government has agreed to a judge-led inquiry into ‘claims that British security services were complicit in torture of terrorism suspects’, reports the Guardian.

The decision has been welcomed by human rights groups and backbench MPs, though concerns remain about the remit and openness of the inquiry.

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  The EU Observer reports that ‘an archly conservative group with strong links to the Israeli government has attacked the human rights community in the Jewish state’ and accused the EU of secretly attempting to ‘undermine democracy.’ 

NGO Monitor claims that ‘a clutch of officials in the heart of the EU is plotting to “delegitimise” Israel by funding local human rights organisations.’ The group further accuses the EU of funding civil society groups to manipulate the political process in Israel.

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  Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a 62-page report titled ‘No Questions Asked’ in which it says that the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom cooperate ‘with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture.’ 

From the EU Observer:

‘Intelligence services in all three countries claim it is impossible to know the sources and methods used to acquire shared information in states such as Algeria, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. But officials in the UK and Germany have made public statements indicating that they believe it is sometimes acceptable to use foreign intelligence even if it is obtained under torture, the report notes.

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  ENGAGE has received a reply from the Department for Education, Redbridge Local Authority and from the Chair of Governors for King Solomon High School (Redbridge) on the matter of state-funded Jewish schools promoting Zionism within their ethos.

The response can be read here.

  ENGAGE has received a reply from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Near East Group to our letter condemning the storing of the Gaza aid flotilla by Israeli commandos in international waters which killed nine humanitarian activists late last month.

The response can be read here.

  ENGAGE has written to Theresa May on the recent decision by the Home Secretary to invoke an exclusion order against Dr Zakir Naik. 

Read our letter here.

    Home Secretary Theresa May has extended 28-day detention without trial for terrorism suspects for the next six months, adding that the coalition government would review the limit as part of a review of counter-terrorism legislation.

The review into 28-day pre-charge will look into evidence for and against extended periods of pre-charge detention, whether a reduction will impact the effectiveness of investigations and whether current safeguards are sufficient or should be increased. The outcome of the review will be reported back to parliament in autumn.

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  Philip Hollobone (pictured), Conservative MP for Kettering, who has previously compared niqab and burqa wearers to ‘the religious equivalent of going around with a paper bag over your head’ is to reportedly ask parliament to restrict the use of burqa in the UK.

Northamptonshire Evening Standard reports that Hollobone will present a Private Members Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill in the House of Commons. The move comes on the back of a decision arrived at by MPs from 47 European countries who voted against a general prohibition on the wearing of the burqa, niqab or other religious symbols since it would deny women who genuinely and freely desire to cover their face.

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  The Guardian reports that Rangzieb Ahmed, a man from Manchester whose fingernails were ripped out during detention in Pakistan allegedly with the knowledge of UK security service personnel, is to appeal against his conviction for terrorism offences.

The MI5 has previously been accused of attempting to bribe Rangzieb Ahmed into withdrawing his torture complaints.

From the Guardian:

‘The case of Rangzieb Ahmed is understood to hinge on the contents of a secret ruling that was issued after he complained that MI5 was complicit in his torture. That judgment is being kept secret at the request of the Crown Prosecution Service and it is not currently possible to report on the grounds for Ahmed’s appeal.

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  The Council of Europe has passed a resolution that says there ‘should be no general prohibition on wearing the burqa and the niqab or other religious clothing.’ 

MPs from forty-seven countries voted unanimously that a general ban on veils would deny women ‘who genuinely and freely desire to do so’ their right to cover their face. The council has however left the door open for the passage of targeted laws against the wearing of burqa.

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