UK justice secretary Kenneth Clarke announced the deal November 16, saying London was admitting no guilt but wanted to avoid protracted litigation and feared compromising national security if the cases went on longer. The settlement is reportedly in the millions of dollars.
The most prominent legal action is that of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident born in Ethiopia. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and sent by U.S. forces to Morocco for 18 months of interrogation, with Londons knowledge. Among the abuses he endured was monthly torture that involved dozens of scalpel cuts to his genitals, which were then doused with a burning liquid. Eventually Mohamed ended up at Guantánamo.
Last year a British court ruled Mohameds treatment was cruel, inhuman, and degrading and ordered the release of CIA files on him that were in British possession. London did so, violating the understanding between the U.S. and British secret police that such shared files are never made public.
Mohamed sought redress in U.S. courts as well, but was not successful. No former or present Guantánamo detainees have been able to sue the U.S. government under either the George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations. Both have used state secrets as an excuse to prevent the cases from going to court, or claimed the agencies and individuals being charged enjoy immunity.
The White House said it had no comment on the British settlement.
Clarke said the British government is devising a system whereby spy files of interest in future court cases would be seen and heard in secret hearings and withheld from interested parties and their lawyers, the Guardian reported.
Obamas Afghan war timetable: 2011 2014+
Gates: Well still be out there killing
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