Asked whether govt will carry out obligatory investigation, MoJ responds by sending ‘factsheet’ – which makes no reference to question
On New Year’s Eve Nils Melzer, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, went onto social media to publish his October letter to the UK government and his conclusions that the UK had participated in subjecting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to “psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”:
But Melzer’s findings are not merely advisory – they trigger an obligation on the UK government under the UN’s convention on torture, as Melzer was careful to point out:
But two and a half months after Melzer wrote to the Tory government with his report, it appears that the government has not made any move to fulfil its treaty obligations – and has no intention of doing so.
The SKWAWKBOX called the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), which is responsible for the Assange situation, to ask whether the government had taken any steps to act on Melzer’s call or even had any statement about it after he published it on social media.
In response, the MOJ sent this response by email:
Thank you for your query, please see a link to our factsheet on the extradition process below.
However, the ‘factsheet’ – which refers specifically to the Assange case but generic in content – makes no reference whatever to Melzer’s findings, let alone to his call for the UK to carry out the investigation it is legally obliged to conduct. In fact, it is nine months old, published months before Melzer sent his letter and called on the UK to carry out its obligations:
At the conclusion of his thread on his findings, Melzer spells out the consequences for Assange and British justice of the grim reality he encountered:
From the MOJ’s email, it seems that the UK government’s response to Melzer’s findings and call is simply to pretend they never happened. Whatever your opinion of Julian Assange, the UK government should not simply be disregarding its obligations as a United Nations member.
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