A legal action has been instituted against the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon. Liz Truss MP, challenging her failures to acknowledge that the IPOB Leader, a UK citizen has been a victim of extraordinary rendition and illegal detention by the family of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The family in a suit by her Counsel, Shirin Marker, solicitor at Bindmans LLP, wants the court to lawfully determine what further steps the UK Government should be taking to assist him given gross violation of his human rights.

The family accused the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of abdication of its responsibility to acknowledge and respond to Kanu’s extraordinary rendition.

The law firm representing the family, Bindmans LLP, has sent a pre-action letter on behalf of the family, to the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, challenging her failure to acknowledge that Kanu, has been subjected to extraordinary rendition and torture.

According to a statement by the family’s lawyer made available to Vanguard, the action is one of the steps toward securing justice for the IPOB leader who has been in detention since last year.

“The case raises important points of principle, not only in relation to extraordinary rendition but on the legal duties the UK has when its citizens’ human rights are abused abroad”, the lawyer said.

Kanu was renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021, and has remained in detention since then while facing treason charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government has denied that Kanu was renditioned, claiming he was intercepted in Kenya with the help of security agencies.

British High Commission Officials have been permitted to visit Mr Kanu on just two occasions.

The law firm in the suit, contends that there is compelling evidence that Kanu was renditioned, adding that neither Nigeria nor Kenya has provided any credible evidence to suggest otherwise.

“The right to liberty and security of the person, and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention have been described by the United Nations as ‘deeply entrenched human rights norms’.

“Extraordinary rendition is a fundamental contravention of these principles and a serious breach of international law.

“The English courts have considered the question of the UK’s obligations to British citizens who have been extraordinarily rendered in the case of Abbasi v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2002] EWCA Civ 1598. There, the Court of Appeal stressed that in order to properly consider whether to make diplomatic representations or take more serious action to protect a British citizen’s interests, the Foreign Secretary must start by reaching a clear view on whether its citizen has suffered a ‘denial of justice’ as a result of a violation of their rights and freedoms as guaranteed by international law.

“In Mr Kanu’s case, the Foreign Secretary has been unwilling to reach a view on whether he has been subject to extraordinary rendition, in spite of evidence submitted to her officials over the ten months that have passed since he was taken to Nigeria.

“Her refusal to form a view on Mr Kanu’s rendition means she cannot have taken into account all relevant factors nor have lawfully exercised her discretion in considering what further steps to take in respect of Mr Kanu’s rendition.

“It has now been nearly a year since Mr Kanu was subject to extraordinary rendition. Since then, he has been detained in solitary confinement in a cell six by six feet for nearly 24 hours a day. To date, the UK’s diplomatic efforts have had very little effect. UK officials have only been able to visit Mr Kanu twice whilst in detention, his conditions
of detention have not changed since that visit and no other progress has been made in “Most remarkably, the Foreign Secretary has been unable or unwilling to reach a conclusion on whether Mr Kanu has been subject to extraordinary rendition or not, despite all the evidence showing he was. That matters because she cannot make a proper decision on how to respond to what has happened without deciding precisely what she is responding to. Mr Kanu’s family, who bring this challenge, urge to her take a decisive stance on his extraordinary rendition so that she can properly consider what further steps should be taken to assist him in light of this egregious breach of international law.”

Adding his voice, Kanu’s brother, Kingsley Kanu said: “With every day that passes, I am increasingly concerned for my brother’s welfare in detention and increasingly frustrated by the UK Government’s ineffectiveness in assisting him.

“I hope the Court will rule the Foreign Secretary must recognise the seriousness of my brother’s situation and properly consider what other steps she can take to assist him in light of his extraordinary rendition.”

You may also like

Comments

Leave a Reply