“Me too, me too…”
An update from this:
The lawyer for former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib says his client will be buoyed by reports the UK government is preparing to make a payout to former prisoners. Â (ABC)
Several British media organisations including the BBC Â say the UK will soon announce millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements to the British nationals, who took civil action against their government.
Around a dozen former Guantanamo detainees accused the UK government of being complicit in their unlawful imprisonment and torture while in captivity.
The UK government says the payouts are aimed at preventing the release of sensitive security information.
Sydney resident Mr Habib is suing the Australian Government in the Federal Court in a case that has some similarities to those in Britain.
“He was arrested by the Pakistani police in Pakistan in about September ’01 … and on the same bus were two German nationals. All of them were of Arabic or Egyptian origin,” Mr Habib’s lawyer, Clive Evatt, said.
“The German government, when the two German nationals were arrested and taken into custody, just put a bit of pressure on the Pakistani government and they were released.
“But Mr Habib was kept by the Pakistani police, tortured. The Australian Government did nothing for him.
“He was then sent to Egypt with the knowledge of the Australian Government, and Egypt is notorious for mistreatment and even torture of prisoners.
“A lot of the other prisoners in Guantanamo Bay also went to Egypt.
“Then, ultimately, Habib goes to Guantanamo Bay where he’s mistreated and tortured. Our government did nothing to help him.”
Mr Evatt says the fact that it appears there will be a payout to the British detainees is relevant to Mr Habib’s case.
“If the British government is prepared to pay out a certain amount of money to their citizens who have exactly the same identical case as Mr Habib, then I suppose one could point to that in assessing damages in Mr Habib’s case,” he said.
“It must be good for him psychologically to know that prisoners in a similar position to him but from another country, Britain, have settled for what appears to be a substantial sum of money.
“So it would have a good psychological effect on him.”
He says Mr Habib’s case is ready to go.
“There’s more discovery of documents by the Government. Nothing like the 500,000 documents the British government were asked to discover,” he said.
“But the Government nonetheless has to discover a lot of documents, many of which are redacted, come from ASIO or the secret intelligence organisation.
“But leaving that aside, the case is ready and as I understand it, it’s to be heard in June and July next year.”
A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s department told PM he had not heard details of the British case.
Details of the British compensation payout are sketchy, but a spokesman for prime minister David Cameron has confirmed a statement will be made later Tuesday.
British security agencies MI5 and MI6 had tried to suppress evidence relating to their detention, but the former detainees successfully appealed against that decision earlier this year.
In July, the British high court ordered the release of some of the 500,000 documents relating to the case.