05/10/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 05/10/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



He's gone, nearly, Abu Hamza is tonight being deported to America,


to face terrorism charges. This is the scene now at an airbase


in Suffolk, where two American planes are set to take off with


Hamza and four other accused. But Hamza avoided extradition for eight


years. How did that happen? We will discuss that with the Conservative


MP and, in his first interview, Hamza's barrister.


The BBC is in the firing line, again, this time for helping its


presenters avoid tax. I will be asking a senior BBC


executive, why it is allowed to happen. Nothing we do is designed


to enable either individuals or the BBC to avoid paying tax. And they


were beaten, raped, castrated, by the British authorities in Kenya.


Now they have they have won the right to sue the British Government.


What other chances have the -- have the victims of Cologne yum rule of


-- colonial rule have of achieving justice.


Justice delayed is justice denied, goes the legal saying. By that


definition, the European Court of Human Rights and British courts


have manifestly denied justice. It has taken eight years to extradite


the radical Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza, to the United States.


Tonight, police removed Hamza and four other defendants from Long


Lartin Prison, and put them on to two planes set for America. But the


case has raised serious questions about the extradition process, and


severely test Britain's relationship to the European Court.


This report contains flash photography.


Just hours after his appeal failed, Abu Hamza was on his way from Long


Lartin, maximum security prison, in the West Midlands, to an airfield


and a US pen tensionry. Penetenary. One of the most


notorious figures in Britain, described by his own lawyers as a


pantomime villain, was finally leaving the country. Soon, Abu


Hamza and the other four account ofs will be on their way, flying


Con Air to the United States. In a US Department of justice plane with


US federal marshalls on board. It is many years since the extradition


period, why has it taken so long. From the 1990s, among his own


followers, he called for violence. Just do it, anything will help the


infad da do it, if it is pain do it, if it is ambush, if it is anything


poisonous, poison them. television interviews, he refused


to condemn Al-Qaeda's bombings of US embassies in Africa.


REPORTER: You support the message of killing 200 people in order to


send a message? They were not meant to be murdered. You repudiate the


attack, you say it was wrong? No I don't say it was wrong. In 200,


there was seven arrests at Finsbury Park Mosque, where he preached,


police found a stun gun, replica firearms, and CS gas cannister.


Just over a year later, in 2004, Abu Hamza was arrested on a US


extradition warrant, charges included setting up a training camp


in Oregon, and a kidnapping in Yemen. In October 2004 he was


charged in the UK with 15 offences under the Terrorism Act, that


halted the process. Found guilty, he was imprisoned in 2006. It is


largely waste of time, though it was very good lawyers' fees, of


course. He should have been sent to the United States. There, perhaps,


his defence lawyers would have got him off, so be it. What is it with


British lawyers, British judges, British prosecutors, I don't know,


nobody knows, that they think justice delayed is something that


they can accept. In May 2007, the extradition began again, with a


preliminary hearing in London. His lawyers went to the European Court


of Human Rights, that halted the process, it took until 2010 for the


first hearing. Many thousands of cases have flooded in, in


particular from Eastern Europe, in countries such as Russia, Turkey,


Romania and Poland. The court is struggling with a very large


backlog of cases, something like 80,000, depending on which figures


you look at. The court is aunch struggling t has limited resource -


- often struggling, it has limited resources, some of the cases have


very complex. That tends to slow up proceedings, to some extent. They


delivered their ver vibgt in April 20 -- verdict in April 2012 and


turned down the appeal against it. They said the conditions would not


be degrading. Yet lawyers for Abu Hamza and the other defendant went


back to the British High Court. That it has taken so long, has


angered the head of the justice system itself. As he made clear


last week. I'm not going to comment about an


individual case, but any case that takes eight years, through a whole


series of judicial processs to come to a conclusion, and you have made


the point, that it hasn't yet come to a conclusion, is a source of


real fury to me. One veteran MP says it's time for parliament to


get involved. I think the Justice Select Committee should be looking


at why it is that these incredible delays are there. What is the extra


protection that alleged terrorists, terrorists, and convicted


terrorists have, why is it that QCs and judges bend over backwards. It


is time for a proper explanation. Most MPs are terrified to mention


or criticise judges n this case it is overdue that we have a proper


parliamentary examination of why justice is so delayed in this area


of law and courts. Abu Hamza himself, will soon have left the


country. But the questions raised by his extradition remain.


Joining me in the studio is Conservative MP Mark Reckless, who


sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, and in his first


interview, Abu Hamza's lawyer, Alan Jones QC. You are the man who


represents Abu Hamza what has been his reaction tonight to this


verdict? I haven't spoken to him today at all. I think he was


expecting this. In fact, we were all expecting it. I think it has


been clear since the European Court of Human Rights made its decision


in April, that it was final. And nobody expected the Home Office to


conduct, what we thought were the necessary medical tests, to


determine whether he was fit to be extradite. You can't seriously have


thought you were going to succeed with today's appeal, it was, in


effect, a delaying tactic? No, we had a consultant psychiatrist, who


gave his opinion to the Home Office, on the 10th of August this year,


that there had been a deterioration in Abu Hamza's mental condition.


Attributable to sleep deprivation for eight years. He has been kept


in conditions of utmost severity in Belmarsh Prison, with very severe


disability. His recommendation was there was an MRI scan, which the


Home Office ignored. I don't think those are the main points. I would


like to deal with the question of delay, which you have been


discussing. Of course, there has been formidable delay. The point


which has not been made, and ought to be made loudly and clearly, that


Abu Hamza ought to have been tried in this jurisdiction for the crimes


alleged against him. We will come to that. But we have the Lord Chief


Justice saying now that your achievement here, the eight years


of delay, are a source of real fury to him. Surely now, we all have to


accept the law here has been made to look like an ass? There are very


serious faults in the way extradition proceedings are handled.


Don't call it an achievement to delay for eight years. The delay


has been built in by Abu Hamza serving a sentence of imprisonment,


and criminal proceedings brought in this country in 2004. That caused


the extradition proceedings to be interrupted until 2007. The


proceedings themselves took place between 2007 and June of 2008, and


since then, the delays have been cued in the European Court of Human


Rights -- caused in the European Court of Human Rights, where Abu


Hamza's complaint of held admissible in part, as were those


of the other defendants. It was treated with enormous significance


and importance by the European Court of Human Rights, until the


appeal was dismissed in this year. Det lays are endemic of the


extradition -- delays are endemic of the extradition process. How we


sought it out in Europe, I don't know, that court is overburdened


with work. This is a consequence of using extradition matters instead


of trying the matters as they should have been tried in this


jurisdiction. We will come back to that. Stay with us, please. You sit


on the Home Affairs Select Committee, you too have met the man,


Abu Hamza, you met him in prison, what is your reaction to seeing him


arrive just now to get on a plane to the United States? I think most


people in the country, at last, it has taken such a long time. It has


been a lot of money, including tax- payers' money spent, and finally


this extradition is now going ahead. The delays inherent in this process


are because we have the European Convention of Human Rights,


incorporated, for a decade, into our domestic law. Our own courts,


to the highest level, rule on that, and say whether it is Abu Hamza, or


anyone else, that they can be deported. We then wait for this


separate process, for the Strasbourg court to rule on


something our own courts have already determined on the basis of


that international law. You think in the detail of today's court


judgment, there is some strengthening of the position of


British courts? Absolutely, MPs such as myself and Dominic Raab, we


have argued for some time that it is entirely lawful for the


Government to proceed to deport Abu Hamza or others, put them on plane,


and their lawyers might go to the High Court in a week or two and the


decisions are upheld. We have the strongest indication yet, from the


UK judiciary, that it is their decision that matters. When it is


the Government, when they say that a Rule 39 injunction from


Strasbourg, prevents the deportation, we see our judges


saying no, it is not an injunction, it is aindcation. It indicates that


the Strasbourg rules say it is not desirable. There are other people


in British jails who could be swiftly on planes themselves?


could be, we have the clearest judicial indication that they could


be. As I as others have been arguing for a long time, the


Government has to test the law, move to put the people on the plane,


there may be a quick judicial review in the court. On the basis


of what judges in this case judgment have been saying, and


other more senior judges, extra judiciary, saying it is UK


judgments that matter, and we shouldn't wait for years for


Strasbourg to make its own decisions. I agree, it is good


British judges are asserting themselves over important


international matters. What I would like to hear Mr Reckless discuss is


why British judges should not be pronounced upon the merits of the


allegations made against people like Abu Hamza, and all the others,


whose cases have finished. To in every case the allegation against


those people could have been tried in this country, where the judicial


qualities that Mr Reckless wants to see brought to bear, could be


applied in every one of those cases, which is where the people are found,


it is where they were arrested, its where many of them are arrested. It


is where their homes or families are, where their defence witnesses


R I would like to see a self- assertion, by the UK Criminal


Justice Act system, over crimes of an international character, which


could be tried in this jurisdiction, and where common sense dictates,


and the factors relevant to the case, where the evidence is,


demonstrate, should be tried in this jurisdiction. It is the


failure to apply any sensible test, any objective assessment, as to


where one case should be tried, here or the United States, which


has resulted in these delays. me ask in the studio, the European


Court itself has been criticised over its own delay ooh and the


number of case on -- and on the number of cases on backlog. The


British justice system hasn't been perfect here? Abu Hamza was


convicted and was serving a sentence, back in 2008 the courts


took a year. There is some arguments about changing the


statutory appeals and the way they interact with judicial review. It


is only over a year of process in our courts, and the last week or so


have been the UK courts. Fart bigger delay has been Europe. What


we see in this judgment is we shouldn't and don't need to wait


for Strasbourg, we should make our own decisions and our Government


follow our courts here. Thank you very much.


It's not been a brilliant week for the BBC. First, the Jimmy Saville


scandal, and now a powerful committee of MPs has accused the


corporation of encouraging its star presenters to go on contracts that


help them avoid paying tax, and helpfully, avoid the BBC paying tax,


as well. Today the focus of the tax


crackdown is the BBC. But it was back in February that the story


began. A Newsnight investigation revealed


Richard Lester, one of the country's top public servants, was


being paid through a personal service company, as boss of the


Student Loans Company, his salary package was around �200,000, the


arrangement meant he could save thoughs of pounds by not paying tax


or national insurance through source. Within 24 hours the


Government had announced, not just changes to how there are Lester was


paid, but a review across -- not just how Mr Lester was paid, but a


review across the board. We have to all pay our fair share, I have


taken this action to make sure Government departments do not


support tax avoidance schemes. review revealed 2,400 public sector


workers were being paid using contracts, which meant they weren't


paying tax at source. Today, MPs turned the heat on the BBC.


A report by the Public Accounts Committee said the public sector


should avoid using off-payroll- arrangements, as it creates the


suspicion that employees may be avoiding tax. It said it was


particularly shocked by the BBC's use of the practice. If you work in


the public service, it is beholden on you to lead by example. Hard


working families up and down the country are paying lots of money in


tax, it is wrong for individuals, working in the public service,


whose money comes from the tax those families pay, aren't paying


their due share. The BBC said it would carry out a detailed review


of these contracts. Earlier I spoke to the BBC's head


of human resources, Lucy Adams. Let's get one thing clear, how many


people, that we see on our television screens, are being paid


through these private companies, that help them pay less tax? There


are 1500 people who are, what are known as on-air presenters. There


are 467 presenters that you would see on a very regular basis.


have asked a tax lawyer to do some calculation about those 467.


Suppose one of them is earning �150,000 a year, some of our


viewers, they will take a deep breath when they hear that figure.


We know some of them are. We have worked out that it saves you


�20,000 per employee, or per non- employee here, by doing that


alaiingment. You, of course, don't -- arrangement. You, of course,


don't have to pay national insurance. The individual is


responsible for paying national insurance for both the employer and


employee, so HMRC is getting the same amount of money. You don't


have to pay it? Because we are not paying that and wouldn't pay them


holiday, et cetera, we would be paying them more. So it balances


out. You are happy with that. The House


of Commons isn't, the Government isn't, they have asked you to take


a relook. You have basically decided there is nothing wrong with


the arrangement? We are aware of public concern about potential tax


avoidance, that is why we have been doing a very view of the situation,


which we will be working with the PACR. What is the review, there is


worry about that arrangement, not all the people who work for the BBC


have that arrangement. Many of the people who appeared on screen pay


their tax through their wage bill, like everyone else. Why do you need


to many of your employees to be paid like this? We want to do a


review because we want to be sure it is working in the way it should.


It clearly isn't, there is concern at the level of the PAC and the


Government. It isn't working in the way it should. Otherwise the Chief


Secretary of the Treasury wouldn't be standing up and saying, hey guys,


review it? We are very clear we comply with HMRC guidelines, rules


and regulation, waent to make sure everyone we are contracting with in


that mechanism is working and effectively to the terms. I will


read you what Margaret Hodge says, chair of the committee, it sounds


suspiciously like complicity with tax avoidance, what do you say?


deny that categorically, nothing we do is to enable individuals or the


BBC to avoid paying tax. Is it moral, is it right to have somebody


in a foodbank in Coventry, getting turned down an emergency loan


claiming benefit, while you quibble about �20,000 in tax, from someone


working in this build. What is the moral justification for that?


are keen to ensure the right amount of tax is paid to HMRC, that is why


we provide all the information to them about everything the


individuals have earned. HMRC are able to police they have paid the


right amount of tax. Why do so many of your top employees seem to be


able to demand a beneficial arrangement, that ordinary Joes


cleaning the floor in Television Centre don't have, why? The vast


majority of people who are contracted in this way, work for a


number of others countries. Actor, musicians, singers, make-up artists,


hairdressers. What about the people who are the faces of the BBC, they


are not encouraged to work for other companies? Many of them do.


One of the things we are doing with our review is to make sure it is


working. If it needs changing we will change it.


You will change it. They were treated with appalling


brutality, raped, beaten, in one case, castrated, tortured. The


victims were Kenyan, the perpetrators, British policemen and


soldiers, fighting the Mau Mau in the 1950s. Today three survivors of


the mistreatment won the right to sue the British Government now, for


damage. In a moment I will speak to two historians about the rights and


wrongs of historical justice cases like this. First we report from


Nairobi. For many here, this has been a very


long time coming. For nearly half a century, the UK has sought to avoid


being held to account for horrific abuses carried out by its forces


during the Mau Mau rebellion, that foreshadowed Kenyan independence.


The British Government admits that the people who brought the case


were tortured. But, it says, the events took place too long ago,


that the key decision makers were all dead, and making a fair trial


impossible. Today the High Court disagreed. For these people,


today's judgment was a significant victory. When the news filtered


through from London, on a mobile phone many of these elderly people


got together, linked armed, they were cheering and chanting and


dancing. This has been a long time coming for many of them. It feels


like a big win for them. The reality is some what different.


This may be just another phase in a long, drawn-out, legal procedure.


Many of these people are veterans of a 06-year-old conflict. For many


of them -- of a 60-year-old conflict. For many of them, time is


not on their side? These people are mainly old, if people die of age,


these people are near the grave. Why do you want them to go to the


grave without the conclusion of their case. Today, though, that


didn't really dampen people's spirits. Here there were a couple


of hundred veterans of the Mau Mau rising, and were very happy with


what they heard. In Kenya, interestingly, there is little


coverage of this case. That is because the Mau Mau itself is a


some what controversial, and not all together simple part of Kenya's


history. The thing is, the people who took over Kenya, and started


running it after independence in 1963, many of them had been


associated with the Home Guard, those who fought on behalf of the


British Colinisers. For many decades the Mau Mau weren't


recognised as a legal organisation, they were only unbanned in 1993.


There was a sense of a new era here. Even today, not everyone a I grease


that the Mau Mau is an I will Luis -- not everyone agrees that the Mau


Mau is an illustrious part of history, or has a case for


independence. The legal wrangling could drag on for months, some of


the claimants may not live to see the conclusion of their case.


Today's judgment could have consequences that reach out beyond


the Mau Mau rebellion, beyond Kenya. The Government has said it won't


comment on this case, as it is appealing the decision. With me now


are the historian Lawrence James, and the university of Cambridge


academic pre-ia Golpal. The British Government is appealing, these


people are elderly. The Government strategy might to be wait until


they are no longer around. Isn't it time to pay up, make an apology,


and move on? I don't think so. I mean you are asking Mr Cameron's


Government to pay compensation, for alleged misdeeds, by the servants


of Winston Churchill's Government. If this is so, is David Cameron


going to face cases of the misdeeds of say the officials of Lord


Palmerstown. Will this become universal. These people are still


alive, aren't they, there is not many people still alive from those


days. But we have real human decision here who have suffered and


want redress? They claif tomorrow suffered, and their claims are --


they claim to have suffered and their claims are going through the


civil court and we will find out if they are valid. The British


Government accepts that violence was done to them? It does, the


extent of the violence, by whom and what circumstances? They are still


in the middle of civil, leading proceed decommission. What do you


think -- Proceedings. What do you think? It is too late to talk about


whether the people were tortured or had things done to them. It is


widely accepted, two distinguished British historians have written


books, using archives and evidence, that establish there was widespread


violence, killing and torture. I don't think it does us much good to


ask whether or not violence indeed happened. It certainly did. What


should happen in this case? I think one thing we have to establish, is


this isn't about particular Governments, Cameron's versus


Churchill or Palmerston, it is about the British state, as one


continuous entity, bears responsibility for what was


undertaken in its name, whether it happened in 1960, or 1977. Many


people will be saying Mau Mau, Kenya, who are they, do we know


enough about you are this period, are our students talked about it


enough. What happened in the fall of the British Empire? They are,


the fast galy misbehaviour of the Queen and forces have been shown


about for over 30 years. It wa brutality. But the currency of


violence was partly introduced by the Mau Mau. What we have is an


incertificate rexry organisation, a peasant -- insurrectionry


organisation, a peasant uprising them. Did grotesque cruelties on


their adversaries. A sovereign state did grotesque cruelties back?


The British authorities panicked, and there was a lot of bad eggs in


that administration, without. Some were court marshalled, not enough.


The man who was castrated, it says in my notes, was castrated with


pliers, by a white, British civil servant, a servant of the British


state. Do you think we need to do more to try to educate people what


actually happened. What do we think about it? My students come in at


their third year in Cambridge and know very little about the empire.


They know next to nothing about Kenya or south Asia. I think the


teaching of imperial history in this country is extremely poor, and


quite cartoonish. We don't do ourselves a service by not


understanding what has happened. There is a huge debate in the


United States about reparations about the torture inflicted by


slavery. Do you think we are about to enter a debate like that in the


UK. Where it is placed on the agenda that we actually pay,


individual people, for what happened under colonialism? I think


there are two different things we are talking about, one is reckoning


with the history of empire as a society. Have we? No we haven't,


absolutely. Does paying help? think it brings the debate into


focus. There is a very limited number of individuals who are still


alive, who can claim payment. That is only the tip of the iceberg.


is not really history this, is it, they are real people. We ought to,


there is a moral case for Britain to stop dragging its heels, isn't


there? We are not dragging our heels, we are allowing this case to


proceed. Will you fight tooth and nail if that happens? That is the


Government's right. We haven't yet heard their side of the case. I


would add one thing, I quite agree we don't know enough about our


empire. And in discovering about it, we will remember there is a balance.


You have, perhaps, a handful of brutal and callous officials in


Kenya. At the same time, you have British authorities establishing


veterinary clinics and giving training to Kenyans to look after


their flocks. We are aware of the argument there. This was a


generation that was addicted to silence. There was no transparency,


they didn't talk about it when they came back. We have to talk about it


now. It was us discussed in parliament on a few occasions.


about the families that did this? hope many were bitterly ashamed.


is not helpful to talk about abhor racial, the rotten eggs thing


people are talking about. We are talking about a system that was


brutal and violent. This sort of denial and silencing doesn't help


us as a society. Thank you very much. Kirsty is


standing by in Glasgow with the return of the review show.


We are back, and full autumn colour, tonight the Beat Generation finally


hits the road. JK Rowling's new book is shrouded


in history, I will ask my guest about it. They watch the return of


Download Subtitles