Ire­land’s record on tor­ture pre­ven­tion

The Irish Times - - Comment&letters -

Sir, – The ar­ti­cle by Deirdre Malone, “Ire­land has not rat­i­fied a pro­to­col to pre­vent tor­ture in places of de­ten­tion” (Opin­ion, August 8th), high­lights the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to com­ply with its du­ties to pre­vent tor­ture.

While the Op­er­a­tional Pro­to­col to the Con­ven­tion against Tor­ture (OPCAT) deals pri­mar­ily with peo­ple de­tained in state prisons, the ele­phant-in-the-room with re­gard to Ire­land is that the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment was com­plicit in the US ex­tra­or­di­nary ren­di­tion pro­gram whereby hun­dreds of pris­on­ers were tor­tured.

EU Par­lia­ment TDIP com­mit­tee re­port found that CIA air­craft as­so­ci­ated with the tor­ture were re­fu­elled at Shan­non Air­port.

None of th­ese air­craft was ever searched or in­ves­ti­gated. This means the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment is in breach of Ar­ti­cle 4 UN Con­ven­tion Against Tor­ture (UNCAT): “Each State Party shall en­sure that all acts of tor­ture are of­fences un­der its crim­i­nal law. The same shall ap­ply to an at­tempt to com­mit tor­ture and to an act by any per­son which con­sti­tutes com­plic­ity or par­tic­i­pa­tion in tor­ture.”

Pris­on­ers be­ing trans­ported on air­craft un­der se­vere con­di­tions that may amount to tor­ture, means that such an air­craft should fall un­der the pro­vi­sions of the OPCAT as a place of de­ten­tion, and there­fore be sub­ject to in­spec­tion.

This may be the rea­son why the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment is fail­ing to rat­ify this im­por­tant pro­to­col. Tor­ture is one of the most heinous of crimes, and while it may not be oc­cur­ring within Ir­ish prisons, the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment is fail­ing in its du­ties to en­sure that Ir­ish ter­ri­tory and Shan­non Air­port are not be­ing used to fa­cil­i­tate or be com­plicit in tor­ture.

This may call into ques­tion Ire­land’s ap­pli­ca­tion for mem­ber­ship of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. – Yours, etc, ED­WARD HORGAN, Castletroy, Lim­er­ick.

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