HL Deb 26 April 2004 vol 660 cc70-1WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the implications of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 for the United Kingdom's international commitments to reject and condemn torture in all circumstances with particular reference to evidence during the secret part of the Special Immigration Appeal Commission's legal proceedings; and what is being done to avoid the condoning of torture. [HL2060]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Part 4 powers enable the Home Secretary to certify and detain foreign nationals who are suspected of involvement in international terrorism. These individuals have a right of appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).

SIAC has adopted the common law approach to evidence which may have been obtained elsewhere through the use of torture—save for the evidence that is obtained from a party (usually the defendant in a criminal trial), all evidence is admissible, however unlawfully obtained. However, where that evidence may have been obtained by torture, this will bear on the proper weight to be given to the information. The means by which information is obtained therefore goes to its reliability and weight and not to its admissibility.

SIAC, in its open determination (29 October 2003), specifically considered Article 15 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), which relates to statements which are established to have been made as a result of torture and concluded that their determination was compliant with this article.

But we must take seriously our obligation to protect national security and the well-being of the citizens of the United Kingdom and we would be deficient in this duty if we did not properly assess all information involved in the war on terror.

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