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Monday September 29 2008
British troops who hand over prisoners in Iraq to US military personnel could find themselves facing prosecution, according to a legal opinion compiled for parliament. The finding has led to calls for the British government to rethink its current policy and investigate how the
Earlier this year the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition sought legal opinion from
The conclusion reached by Fordham and his colleague Tom Hickman is that an offence would definitely have been committed. If acted on, the opinion could mean that
What prompted the inquiry was a statement made in February this year by Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who was on active service in
The opinion adds: "
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee which commissioned the report, said there had been a number of allegations that UK forces had been capturing people and handing them over to US authorities, knowing that these detainees were at risk of being tortured or mistreated.
"I commissioned a legal opinion to establish whether the
Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal action charity Reprieve, also welcomed the findings. "We are delighted that the all-party parliamentary group has recognised the illegality of British troops handing over prisoners to
Paul Marsh, president of the Law Society, called on the government to investigate what happens to prisoners rendered from British custody. "Extraordinary rendition has been used by some states as a means of bypassing the formal justice system," said Marsh. "To do so is a breach of the rule of law and puts individuals at risk of ill-treatment. The Law Society calls on the
• guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs