Moazzam Begg compensation case: Government set dealine by courts
April 23, 2009   By:    Bisher Al-Rawi, Extraordinary Rendition, Jamil El Banna, Lawsuit, Martin Mubanga, MI5, MI6, Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Richard Belmar   Comments are off   //   469 Views

The High Court has imposed a deadline on the Government’s defence to the test case damages claims of seven former Guantanamo Bay detainees, including a Birmingham man.

Moazzam Begg, of Sparkhill, is seeking substantial compensation from MI5 and MI6, the Attorney General, the Foreign Office and the Home Office.

Binyam Mohamed, Bisher Al Rawi, Jamil El Banna, Richard Belmar and Martin Mubanga, all London-based, and Omar Deghayes, from Brighton, are also claimants in the case.

Their QC, Tim Otty, said it was alleged the security services had been guilty of “unlawful conduct amounting to domestic and international crimes in aiding and abetting the unlawful imprisonment, extraordinary rendition and torture” of each one.

 

Arguing against any unnecessary delay, he said: “The suffering experienced by these individual claimants has on any view been immense; the ill-treatment to which they have been subjected has been on any view extraordinary.”

Ordering the defence to be served by July 10 and the disclosure of relevant documents by October 9, the judge said: “Plainly this is litigation not only of great importance to the parties, but raising matters of great public concern.”

He accepted that the task of reviewing the documentation, which was occupying a team of 18 barristers, was huge and that time was needed for a proper defence to be prepared.

But he rejected the Government’s suggested service deadline of October as this would lead to an “unacceptable drift” in the progress of the proceedings.

The judge refused Mr Otty’s application for an order for the appointment of a named solicitor from each Government department to take responsibility for the integrity of the documents.

He said the Government acknowledged, at least in principle, the possibility of a “rogue officer” seeking to pervert the course of justice by destroying or concealing relevant material but the claimants accepted the appointment of supervising solicitors could not eliminate that risk.

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