News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, 20 July 2005

UK: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on

Responding to UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s announcement today (20 July) that an agreement has been reached with Jordan, whereby the UK will be able to deport Jordanian nationals with a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ that they will not be tortured or ill-treated, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Director Nicola Duckworth said:

“‘Memoranda of Understanding’ are not a new idea. But such promises from countries like Jordan, which are known to use torture, are not worth the paper they are written on."

“These assurances rely on the good faith of states that are known to torture their subjects -- a practice which few states admit to. How does Charles Clarke propose to monitor whether these promises are being honoured?"

"It is unacceptable for the UK to try to circumvent the global ban on torture, which requires that no-one should be transferred to a country where they risk being tortured or ill-treated."

“The UK Government must do its utmost to prevent any repeat of the appalling 7 July bombings, and to bring those responsible to justice. But going soft on torture is not the answer to terrorism. The UK must remain steadfast in its opposition to this vile practice.”

Background

Amnesty International continues to have serious concerns over recent reports of prisoners being tortured and ill-treated while in incommunicado secret detention in Jordan. Former detainees -- including student protestors -- have alleged that they were beaten during interrogations, including with sticks and cables; that they were subjected to sleep deprivation, exposure to loud noises and that they and their families were threatened with rape and death.

(AI Index: EUR 45/025/2005)

More on the AI campaign: Stop Torture in the "War on Terror" http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maadLQ9abiOnnciGsDXb/