Tareq Aziz, the Foreign Secretary and the Convention against Torture by Felicity Arbuthnot

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
28 October, 2010

To: haguew@parliament.uk; ainagcorrespondence@fco.gov.uk

The Foreign Secretary, The Rt. Hon., William Hague

Dear Foreign Secretary,

Re: Tareq Aziz

I have not yet received a reply to my letter regarding the death sentence hanging (literally) over Tareq Aziz.* The judgement is certainly because he, more than most, knows of the dealings with the U.S., and British government over the decades. Silence in the face of this shocking sentence – a judgement rooted in revenge – makes the U.K., party to a shaming, primitive act.

On 22nd August this year a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman stated:

“The foreign secretary is determined that the UK’s foreign policy should reflect the values that we uphold at home and that our actions overseas be consistent with support for human rights.”

Complicit silence, is hardly in line with these lofty aims.

Please make the strongest representation to the non-government of Iraq over this matter. Iyad Allawi is, after all, a British resident and citizen. The UK is still in “coalition” with the U.S., boots on ground or not. Another lynching, added to the possible one and a half million dead, makes this country no better than the Congo, which the U.S., and U.K, have accused of genocide.

This is an urgent matter of life and death. So far, the UK’s ability to save lives, especially of those hostage, or effectively hostage, has been woeful. Please bring to bear maximum pressure, to achieve a rare success.

The UK., is signatory to the Convention against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, obligations under which include:

(i) Each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture. The prohibition against torture shall be absolute and shall be upheld also in a state of war and in other exceptional circumstances (article 2);

(iii) Each State party shall ensure that acts of torture are serious criminal offences within its legal system (article 4);

(iv) Each State party shall, on certain conditions, take a person suspected of the offence of torture into custody and make a preliminary inquiry into the facts (article 6);

(v) Each State party shall either extradite a person suspected of the offence of torture or submit the case to its own authorities for prosecution (article 7);

The hanging of former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Aziz, would willfully ignore obligations under the Convention. Those party to his death, would be open to another prosecution being added to to that of the illegal invasion, which legal experts are already attempting to instigate.

It is hoped that you will join the Pope in his condemnation, which is also in line with your involvement in the Conservative Human Rights Committee.

I await your response and concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Felicity Arbuthnot (Dr. Hon., Phil.)

* Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV: Act to Save Tareq Aziz by Felicity Arbuthnot

From the archives:

Toppling a country: from Statue to Legality by Felicity Arbuthnot

See also:

Vatican may intervene diplomatically to stop Tariq Aziz execution – www.australiannews.net