On the twentieth anniversary since the release of the Birmingham Six, Gareth Peirce, writing for the Guardian, details their wrongful convictions and the "simplest of stupidities" that secured their release.
On 14 March 1991 the Birmingham Six finally walked free. Today, 20 years on, it is vital to appreciate the horrifying detail of what happened to them, and how the truth was not acknowledged for 16 years. The annihilation of justice for others remains an ever-present spectre.
Assessing the widespread condemnation of the use of torture in extracting confessions following the case of the Birmingham Six, Peirce turns her gaze to the new Muslim suspect community, and asks "if we have, in fact, learned anything at all from our disgraceful past":
In an article for the Guardian, Gareth Peirce presents the case for why a full and open inquiry is needed to discover why so many Libyans seeking asylum in the UK were subject to control orders. Following the bombing on 7 July 2004, she writes, Tony Blair had initiated a deportation agreement with Gaddafi in order to remove dissidents whose presence, Blair claimed, was a grave threat to British national security:
In order to achieve the men's removal to Libya, a country whose leader had a grim record of eliminating opponents, the government had created new mechanisms: memorandums of understanding (MOU), whereby regimes known to practice torture might sign up to an unenforceable promise that they would not torture deported individuals. Gaddafi was evidently a man who could be trusted, but for good measure an independent organisation would monitor the wellbeing of the men deported to Libya: the Gaddafi Foundation, headed by Gaddafi's son Saif.
Yvonne Ridley writes in the Tehran Times about the shocking treatment of US Army Private Bradley Manning who has been held for five months at the US Marine jail in Quantico, Virginia, on suspicion of supplying 'classified' documents to Wikileaks:
The Guardian reports on the controversy caused by revelations in leaked US cables that the UK government was concerned about "harsh and immediate action" from Libya if it failed to release one of the men convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombings, Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, on compassionate grounds.
But as Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer and author of Dispatches from the Dark Side, points out in an interview with the Irish Independent, the real controversy should be about Al-Megrahi's conviction