UK Judges Keep Gitmo Secret After US 'Threat'

Government tells courts to withhold evidence in torture case
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 7:23 AM CST
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, right, and British foreign secretary David Miliband take part in a joint news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 3,2009, at the State Department in Washington.    (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Binyam Mohamed, a British detainee at Guantanamo Bay, alleges that he has been tortured, and his lawyers petitioned a high court in London to release a document detailing his treatment. But yesterday two judges declined—after the British government informed them that the US might stop sharing intelligence with the UK if it was made public. The incident has set off a debate about the freedom of the courts and led to accusations that the US has blackmailed the UK, writes the Times of London.

In their decision, the judges called on the Obama administration to reconsider, either changing its position or else publishing the document itself. David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, said that there was no specific threat to "break off intelligence cooperation," but that publishing another country's state secrets would produce "serious and lasting harm." Yet lawyers for Mohamed, who remains at Gitmo, called the move "capitulation to blackmail, pure and simple."