Daily archives: May 16, 2006

When will this abuse of human rights end?

Until the extent of government manipulation in security issues is clear, we should mistrust Blair

By Philippe Sands in The Observer

The concept of extraordinary rendition does not have a clear meaning in international law. It is not referred to in any treaty or international instrument of which I am aware. It has come to be understood as referring to the practice of forcibly transporting a person, usually alleged to be involved in terrorism, from one country to another without relying on the normal legal processes for the purposes of subjecting them to interrogation and other forms of treatment that include torture or cruel and degrading treatment.

Both elements – the forcible transportation outside of due process, characterised by Lord Steyn as ‘kidnapping’ in his Attlee Foundation lecture, and the invasive forms of interrogation – raise the most serious issues under international law.

Earlier this year, there were reports of a leaked memo from the Foreign Office to Number 10, revealing concern that Britain may have approved requests from the United States to permit extraordinary renditions. This is the background against which to assess Tony Blair’s protestations of his commitment to fundamental rights and the rule of law, reflected in his email debate with Henry Porter in The Observer last month.


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Postal Voting and Electoral Fraud

A new report on Postal Voting and Electoral Fraud has been published by Isobel White of the Parliament and Constitution Centre. The report can be donloaded from the House of Commons library here

“There have been many allegations of electoral abuse since the introduction of postal voting on demand in 2001… The different election offences are outlined and the note explains the means of challenging an election result by election petition. A chronology of recent developments concerning postal voting including allegations of postal vote fraud at the local elections on 4 May 2006 is also given.”

“10 April 2005, The Sunday Times reported that there were fears that there would be voterigging in the constituency of Blackburn. Craig Murray, an Independent candidate, said he had been approached by several people in the Asian community ‘who are under huge pressure from Labour activists to apply for a postal vote’and then hand over their postal vote to the Labour party.’

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