NCSTN is giving a big shout-out to Prof. Deborah Weissman, Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Chapel Hill, and her former law students, who in October 2014 filed a petition on behalf of CIA rendition survivor Abou ElKassim Britel (also known as Kassim Britel) with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez.
We just learned that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released its communications with five governments on the case of Kassim Britel. This UN inquiry is the direct result of the work by Deborah and her students, which was covered by McClatchy DC in the article, UNC legal team, rights advocates take up cause of tortured ex-prisoner.
The case is important, both for Kassim and his family, and also because Kassim is one of many survivors of CIA-directed torture whose cases did not appear in the Senate Torture Report because they were never held at a CIA-run black site.
Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez used Prof. Weissman and students’ brief to write allegation letters regarding Kassim’s case to the governments of the United States, Pakistan, Morocco, Italy, and Portugal. He found the governments’ responses (or in the case of Morocco, non-response) completely inadequate.
Prof. Mendez said, “The Special Rapporteur urges the Government of the United States to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the incidents, to prosecute and punish those responsible and to provide Mr. Elkassim Britel with adequate redress.” He had similar messages for Pakistan, Morocco, Italy and Portugal.
These communications and findings will be presented next week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Prof. Mendez’s report is at UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Kassim Britel – 2015, with Italy at paragraph 280, Morocco at 354, Pakistan at 398, Portugal at 451 and the U.S. at 653. Here is the response from the United States.