Straw faces a torturous spell in the witness box


From The Independent

Twenty-five years after he hung up his barrister’s wig, Jack Straw faces the unwelcome prospect of returning to court. Craig Murray, our former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, intends to call the Foreign Secretary to give evidence in any legal action over his forthcoming memoirs.

This month, Straw’s staff wrote to Murray – who was sacked for blowing the whistle on human rights abuses – saying they’d “actively consider a claim for breach of confidence or Crown copyright” over his book, Murder in Samarkand.

Despite that threat, Murray’s publishers, Mainstream, tell me they “intend to proceed” with the memoir, which will hit the shelves in July.

Meanwhile, Murray has used an interview with The Bookseller to launch a personal offensive against Straw, saying he has “proof that the Government has been obtaining intelligence from torture, and that Jack Straw approved it.”

He’s also happy to take the matter to court, adding: “The Government is seeking to undermine freedom of speech … If they want to send me to prison, I am prepared.”

The Foreign Office letter to Murray was drafted by legal advisors, who are anxious to avoid a hoo-hah similar to that inspired by the publication of Sir Christopher Meyer’s memoir DC Confidential.

However, Straw’s direct involvement makes it hard for them to keep him away from any trial. With this in mind, an FO spokesman stressed that they’ve yet to decide “how to take this forward.”

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