This video from Britain says about itself:
The Women of Reprieve
Watch some of Reprieve’s female members of staff talk about their work.
From weekly The Observer in Britain:
UK rights groups reject official inquiry into post-September 11 rendition
Government-led inquiry into alleged British involvement in rendition and torture will be a whitewash, say rights groups
Mark Townsend, home affairs editor
Saturday 8 November 2014 20.45 GMT
Britain’s leading human rights groups are to boycott the official investigation into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition in the years after 9/11, grievously undermining the controversial inquiry.
Nine organisations have announced that they want nothing to do with the parliamentary inquiry by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) into Britain’s alleged role in the ill-treatment of detainees.
A strongly worded letter to the committee team investigating detainee allegations says that, despite raising concerns with the government more than six months ago over whether its decision to allow the ISC to lead the inquiry was “lawful or appropriate”, their concerns of an establishment cover-up remained unanswered.
The letter, obtained by the Observer, says the coalition of groups – including Reprieve, Amnesty International and Liberty – have lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth. “Consequently, we as a collective of domestic and international non-governmental organisations do not propose to play a substantive role in the conduct of this inquiry,” the letter states.
Other signatories of the letter include Cage, Rights Watch UK, Freedom From Torture, Redress, Justice and the legal charity the Aire Centre. Their anger follows assurances by David Cameron that the inquiry into whether MI5 and MI6 were actively involved in the secret rendition and torture of UK citizens and residents would be headed by a senior judge.
When the coalition government came to power, Cameron told MPs that no other arrangement would command public confidence, and vehemently rejected suggestions that the ISC should conduct the investigation. He said that only a “judge-led inquiry” could “get to the bottom of the case”.
The boycott follows the debacle of the independent inquiry into child abuse, which has been dogged by whitewash claims and recently lost its second chair, Fiona Woolf, after she accepted that abuse survivors had lost confidence in her ability to conduct the investigation impartially.
The ISC has faced years of criticism as evidence of UK involvement in rendition has emerged, and was also condemned for failing to report on the bulk surveillance being conducted by the UK’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, until after it became public.
After an initial inquiry by retired appeal court judge Sir Peter Gibson was cut short two years ago as further evidence came to light of British complicity in rendition and torture, the government’s decision to hand the inquiry to the ISC was widely condemned.
“We remain unpersuaded that the decision to cut short the work of the flawed Gibson inquiry and to pass the baton on to the ISC is an adequate substitute for the establishment of an independent judicial inquiry,” states the letter.
Clare Algar, executive director of Reprieve, said: “What little credibility the ISC had left is rapidly evaporating. It should now be abundantly clear that it is simply incapable of getting to the truth on the UK’s role in rendition and torture.
“Last time they looked into this issue, they gave the agencies a clean bill of health. We now know that conclusion was spectacularly misguided – so why should we expect anything more than a whitewash this time around? The government must now abandon this farce.”
However, the chair of the ISC, former Conservative defence and foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, dismissed criticism of the committee and said the inquiry would continue regardless of the boycott by the human rights sector.
However, he warned that the inquiry into rendition and torture would not be concluded before the general election next May.
“It’s not going to be remotely possible to complete it before the election. Apart from that, we can’t even start on the Libyan stuff because of the police inquiries,” he added.
Ten days ago police investigating MI6’s involvement in the secret abduction of Libyan suspects in 2004 and their forced return to Tripoli revealed they had passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The rights groups’ letter also raises concern that the membership makeup of the ISC meant that it could not deliver an “impartial and thorough” investigation. It states: “The ISC is not and cannot be, by its very design, adequate to the task of carrying out an independent investigation of these violations. It remains the case that the prime minister holds an absolute veto over its membership, the evidence which it is allowed to examine, and the information which it is allowed to publish.
“We are therefore of the view that the committee has neither the powers nor the independence necessary to get to the truth of Britain’s involvement in the rendition and torture of detainees abroad. Any investigation conducted by the ISC will be inherently flawed.”
Rifkind dismissed criticism of the committee’s makeup as “pathetic”.
See also here.