Saturday, 12 September 2015

Tories impose the death penalty without trial or evidence

As you can imagine, I am fundamentally opposed to the death penalty so listening to Michael Fallon the Tory Secretary of Defence, justifying the drone strike that killed Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin filled me with deep concern so it is good to see that there is to be a legal challenge.

Let me say firstly that not only am I opposed to the death penalty, but I am equally opposed to war and even more appalled by the atrocities being carried out in Syria. While the Tories seem to be refusing to provide refugees with places to live, they seem to be content to bomb Syria rather than putting proper effort into getting a UN peace plan agreed.

Back to the death penalty:

  1. Although they are clearly identified as British jihadis, these two people have not committed an offence in the UK and have not committed terrorist acts in the UK.
  2. They have not faced a trial for the accusation of plotting to commit acts of terror in the UK. I'm pretty sure people are deemed innocent of a crime unless proven otherwise.
  3. They are assassinated in a foreign country by a drone from Britain. Syria has not agreed to the military intervention.
  4. The Tories used Article 51, the right to self defence, as justification for the assassination.This relies on there being an imminent threat to the UK. 
  5. There has been no evidence provided that the British jihadis in a village 3,000 miles away from the UK who are engaged in fighting a different war were about to launch an attack on the UK. 

Quoted in the Guardian: Yasmine Ahmed, director of Rights Watch (UK), said: “There is insufficient information in the public domain … to know whether the drone strikes that killed three individuals in Syria, including two British citizens, were done lawfully.

“These strikes set a dangerous precedent for UK government activity. The UK government can now kill at will with no oversight. If the only oversight for these actions is internal confidential government legal advice, which the British public never gets to see, that is no oversight at all. To take military action in the name of the British public and not fully inform the public about the legal basis for doing so is undemocratic.”

There needs to be an urgent UN led response to the unfolding crisis in Syria, a political solution that brings peace and stability. Terrorists need to dealt with based on their crimes.

Assassinations in a foreign land without trial or crime against the UK must not happen.

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