26 de fevereiro de 2009

Comunicado à imprensa da REPRIEVE 

For Immediate Release

Memorandum re: Portuguese Assistance
Case: Binyam Mohamed
Date: February 25, 2009
From: Reprieve / Clive Stafford Smith (clivess@mac.com)

The assistance of the Portuguese prosecutors has been valuable to Reprieve in its representation of Binyam Mohamed. Reprieve wrote to the Prime Minister who referred us to the prosecutors, suggesting that this was the appropriate forum for us to seek information. While it is not appropriate for Reprieve to release the correspondence from the prosecutors themselves, it is entirely proper for Reprieve to reveal the information that was derived from these communications.

The Information provided

The Portuguese authorities provided Reprieve with information concerning a very important CIA flight circuit in mid-September 2002. The flight involved the CIA aircraft N379P – this was nicknamed the “Rendition Express”, because it was involved in so many renditions. This was the aircraft that originally delivered Binyam Mohamed to Morocco overnight on July 21-22, 2002. This was also the aircraft that rendered Mr Mohamed from Rabat to the “Dark Prison” in Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 22, 2004.

On the September circuit, N379P arrived in Rabat (Morocco), indirectly from Diego Garcia. This is an important link in the case involving CIA operatives who used the British base on Diego Garcia.

From Rabat, the flight went on to Porto on September 14, 2002.

The flight went back to Rabat on September 15, before returning to Porto. After stopping over there, the aircraft proceeded to Kabul on September 17. From Kabul, the plane returned to Jordan on the same day. The flight to Amman carried at least one other Guantánamo prisoner – juvenile Hassan bin Attash – and he was subsequently subjected to 16 months of torture in Jordan. Mr bin Attash remains in Guantánamo Bay and, despite being a juvenile, he continues to face the death penalty to this day. The Portuguese information is of assistance to us in providing legal assistance to Mr bin Attash.

The aircraft went on to Rabat the same day, staying overnight before flying back to the US via Ireland on September 18, 2002.

Thus this circuit included three stops in Morocco, delivering prisoners there and bringing US agents to take part in the torture and abuse of Binyam Mohamed.

The Portuguese prosecutors provided Reprieve with information concerning their review of airport records, as well as the records of the local hotels that were generally used on the rendition flights.

The Portuguese prosecutors specifically identified one of the US personnel on board the entire flight circuit – providing physical evidence that will assist in ensuring full disclosure of all the facts concerning this rendition flight.

Finally, the Portuguese prosecutors responded to Reprieve’s request concerning Binyam Mohamed’s transfer to Guantánamo Bay – involving the flights that demonstrate specifically that the Portuguese government was complicit in his rendition there.

The consequences

Reprieve is very appreciative of the assistance lent by the Portuguese prosecutors. This assistance was provided in the highest tradition of justice.

It should be emphasised that Reprieve has no interest in pursuing a witch-hunt concerning the misconduct of official personnel, Portuguese or otherwise. Reprieve has only two goals: First is to secure justice for those held beyond the effective reach of the law in Guantánamo Bay. Thanks in part to the cooperation of the Portuguese prosecutors, Binyam Mohamed is now free; Hassan bin Attash is not.

Reprieve’s second goal involves ensuring that such misconduct does not happen in the future. The current Portuguese government should be applauded for its response to the disclosure of prior misconduct. The Portuguese government has been the leader in efforts to secure a home for Guantánamo prisoners who are refugees and are unable to be returned to their native countries. Since every one of these prisoners was rendered to Guantánamo Bay through Portuguese jurisdiction – with, therefore, Portuguese government consent – this is a sensible and admirable step for the current Portuguese government to take to make up for the earlier Portuguese complicity.

Other European states have been equally – and, in some cases, more – culpable in the rendition programme. Portugal is leading the way for redressing the mistakes of the past. For this, Reprieve wishes to acknowledge the current government.

(Note: Reprieve has consistently taken the position that the suppression of evidence of official misconduct by European governments is inconsistent with the open administration of justice.)

February 25, 2009

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