Torture victims’ quest for justice is blocked

Sandy Mitchell

Sandy Mitchell

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While this government throws millions of pounds at India in foreign aid the Indian government chose to spend their money on buying the French mirage jet rather than the joint Euro fighter, which is partially built in the UK, and our PM goes cap in hand to try to ask the Indians to change their minds and buy British arms instead of French.

In Pakistan radical Islam flourishes and already it’s forgotten that Osama Bin Laden found sanctuary there under the protection of Pakistani security services while our NATO convoys to Afghanistan are obstructed by the Pakistani authorities because they are offended by US drones violating their airspace while tracking the Taliban retreating into Pakistan to regroup, knowing that NATO troops can’t follow them.

More than £800 million was paid to Pakistan last year and while our government might have thought they were buying the co-operation of this country they were being conned.

Most of the heroin sold in this country originates from Afghanistan and this generates the financial operations of the Taliban which means every heroin addict, most of which live on social benefits, contributes towards the Taliban and the Afghanistan war against our troops. Sadly this means that some of the money the state pays to these addicts may contribute to the killing of our soldiers.

Foreign aid to Afghanistan has bought several mansions in the UAE for Afghan ministers who were penniless traders prior to the NATO invasion and now not only live well off the drug trade but do exceptionally well off foreign aid.

In too many parts of the world foreign aid is a bribe in the hope it buys us security. It does not, because paying money to a foreign government does not change the ideology of the people who are not told of the aid, and rely on their local media and mosques for information and indoctrination.

We are in a recession and our government throws our money away in foreign aid because David Cameron says it’s the right thing to do!

Well sorry, Mr Cameron, you’re wrong! The right thing to do is support the people of this country, who struggle to feed their families, hold down a job, and pay their bills.

Let Mr Cameron give foreign aid from his own pocket as we do when we visit charity shops, my taxes are not his to squander in his crackpot ideas.

Having spent 17 years in the Middle East where I had the opportunity to research Islamic history I read of the purity of Islam and witnessed the corruption of it. The changes of attitudes of people I worked with in my later years in Saudi, which I attributed to the sermons of some of the mosques, I visited, which went unchecked and unchallenged in Saudi Arabia where freedom of speech is not tolerated, but in the 90s radical Islam was. But because it was Saudi, we turned a blind eye to the troubles ahead.

Radical Islam was not just tolerated it was televised in Saudi and in 2000 until 2002 there were televised programmes in which viewers were asked to donate money to the Intifadah in Palestine and Palestinians’ children were shown on Saudi TV claiming they wanted to be martyrs/suicide bombers. This was glorified on Saudi TV and this was instrumental in shaping the minds of many young Arabs who were told the Westerners support of Israel.

This resulted in the resentment of Westerners in Arabia, but when attacks against Westerners started in 2000 the Saudi authorities, already infiltrated with Islamic extremists, decided to fit up a group of Westerners and cover for so called Jihadis operating in Saudi targeting Western ex-pats.

On December 17, 2000, a Canadian doctor, William Sampson, and myself were abducted by the Saudi secret police, tortured for seven days and nights and forced to confess to the bombings committed by their own Islamic militants, of which they were in denial due to the Saudi government’s own agenda.

Our false confessions were televised in February 2001, but the bombings continued so the Saudi’s rounded up more Westerners, tortured and extracted more confessions until 2003.

We endured a total of 32 months of torture and false imprisonment and were sentenced to death, until a deal was struck in August 2003 in which we would be traded for five Saudi militants (from wealthy Saudi families), arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan while on Jihad and were then being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. So a total of eight innocent Westerners were traded for five Saudi militants.

Upon our return we sued the Saudi government and would have won until the British Government decided to grant sovereign immunity to our Saudi torturers, making it impossible for any British torture victim to seek legal redress in the UK.

So we took our case to the European Court of Human Rights in 2005 and for almost six years the British Government has stalled and obstructed us from getting our hearing in the ECHR.

I have written to past and present Prime Ministers (Blair, Brown and Cameron), asking them to redress this injustice, only to find that none will speak out against Saudi Arabia or its human rights abuses, not wanting to offend them by condemning them for torturing British nationals. Our government is steeped in hypocrisy, verging on corruption and ignorant of the value of human rights, and such a government is not worthy of our trust.

Sandy Mitchell

The Newlands, Sowerby