Saturday, June 4, 2022

UK: New Law to Give Ministers ‘Unthinkable’ Power to Kill Overseas – Al-Manar TV Lebanon

Although the British authorities have been killing, stealing and torturing for hundreds of years, now is the time for a bill to emerge, legitimizing overseas murder… Because Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, need more of it.

A human rights charity, in addition to a Tory cabinet minister, warned that ministers and spies will be given immunity from accusations regarding assisting crimes abroad, under a new national security law which will be debated by MPs next week.

According to the Home Office, the law being discussed was “far too slack” and would dissolve the UK’s moral authority, which gives them the right to condemn atrocities, such as the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

In 2007, the Serious Crime Act was passed, which made it illegal to encourage or assist a crime overseas. Such an offense could, for instance, entail aiding in an assassination or sending information to be used in a torture interrogation.

The new law being discussed – which will have its second reading on Monday – will be disapplied where “necessary for the proper exercise of any function” of MI5, MI6, GCHQ or the armed forces.

According to Reprieve, the human rights charity blowing the whistle, the law will grant immunity to authorities, including ministers and officials, particularly those who provide information to foreign governments and partners that lead to people being tortured, or illegally killed in a drone strike.

The law, furthermore, is raising worries that it would also restrict victims’ ability to seek civil damages through legal institutions.

The joint executive director of Reprieve, Maya Foa, remarked that the power being handed to the authorities is “unthinkable”, and it will “risk putting them above the ordinary criminal law,” giving authorities the power to “commit serious crimes thinking they can do so with effective impunity”.

She went on to explain that Clause 23 of the bill will “destroy the UK’s moral legitimacy to condemn similar atrocities by autocratic states.”

Former cabinet minister, David Davis, seconded Foa’s words, saying that clause 23 was “far too slack in the powers it gives ministers.”

“This bill is drafted so loosely that it could let ministers off the hook if they authorised crimes like murder and torture from the safety of their desks in Whitehall,” he said. “I urge colleagues to constrain it to actions appropriate to our aims and civilised standards.”

The bill was brought up last month in the Queen’s speech and which will be debated on Monday, indicates an intention to support Britain’s spy agencies, and “help them protect the United Kingdom.”

One Home Office spokesperson said, “The amendment to the Serious Crime Act will only remove the risk of individuals facing criminal liability where they are carrying out authorised lawful activities deemed necessary, in good faith and following proper procedure.

“Put simply, the government believes it is not fair to expect the liability for this action to sit with an individual UK intelligence officer or member of the armed forces who is acting with wholly legitimate intentions.”

Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

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