Evidence and Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza is undoubtedly a nasty piece of work. With even less doubt, he is entitled to the protection of the law. We won’t, quite rightly, extradite him to face the death penalty in the USA; we won’t extradite him to a country like Yemen where he could not get a fair trial. But I’m not sure that we should extradite him to the USA at all, under any circumstances, when we have good reason to suppose that the evidence against him has been extracted by torture. This evidence should not be admissable in a British court.

I know that we have convicted people like the Birmingham Six on the basis of confessions that were beaten out of them, but the way that this was finessed was to deny that the confessions had been improperly extracted. The pressures routinely exerted in the American interrogation systems are greater, more sophisticated, and more painful, than the simple beatings handed out to suspected IRA men in Britain. Shouldn’t this be enough to invalidate any confession they make?

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