The Right To Know

Lawyers acting for Binyam Mohamed recently failed to win a High Court injunction preventing the public from knowing he had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The Ethiopian-born UK asylum seeker was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and interrogated by the CIA as a suspected terrorist. He was secretly flown to Morocco where he was tortured. After a spell in a secret prison in Afghanistan, he was detained at Guantanamo Bay until his release in early 2009. Mr Mohamed alleges that MI5 was complicit in his torture. The following is the lyric to a song I wrote when he first made his allegations:

IN AFGHANISTAN

How come no one knew about the secret flights?
How come no one recognised my human rights?

Ask me what I think about the CIA
Ask me if the razor scars have gone away
I was just a nobody, I had no plan
Ask if I was treated fair in Pakistan
Just don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing in Afghanistan

What happened in Morocco is a great disgrace
No one showed me mercy in that hiding place

Ask me what I think about the CIA
Ask me if the razor scars have gone away
I was just a nobody, I had no plan
Ask if I was treated fair in Pakistan
Just don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing in Afghanistan

Now I’ve got my freedom won’t you hear me out?
Ask me ’bout the country that has sold me out

Ask me what I think about the CIA
Ask me if the razor scars have gone away
I was just a nobody, I had no plan
Ask if I was treated fair in Pakistan
Just don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing in Afghanistan

Just don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing
Don’t ask what I was doing in Afghanistan

Mr Mohammed’s case was brought under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers torture. His lawyers claimed that publicising his right to remain in Britain would amount to inhumane and degrading treatment. The High Court decided otherwise.

Apparently, even in cases where alleged terrorist activity is involved, asylum seekers are now routinely granted anonymity. Can that be right? Surely the identity of the applicant is a matter of public interest? The use of injunctions to keep us from knowing controversial stuff is increasing at an alarming rate. It’s bad enough that celebrities are granted such injunctions to prevent publication of facts that would damage their reputations. But when the media is prevented from reporting the workings of Parliament or the courts, it’s an altogether more serious matter.

For the record, I unreservedly condemn torture in any context.

About thespeedofdark

David Winship has written an unauthorised autobiography and several critically disdained literary tomes. His work is frequently compared with Steinbeck, Orwell and Hemingway, but unfortunately Mike Steinbeck, Daisy Orwell and Howard Hemingway were all terrible writers. He has been totally overlooked for the most prestigious literary awards worldwide, which is a shame as most of the words are spelled correctly. In fact, his books contain material that ranks with the finest literary works in history: all the right letters are there, just not necessarily in the right order.

Dave’s blog (The Speed Of Dark Blog) is part of his crusade for truth and justice and universal entitlement to free real ale. It may well be that his whole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

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Category(s): Opinion
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