MP challenged over UNCAT. Will Andrew George commit to supporting Article 22 and making the Convention Against Torture applicable to Britain? Why did thatcher sign UNCAT in ’85 if she did not want it implemented? Why has no government since ’85 brought the Convention into effect by signing Article 22? Simply because Tory & New Labour governments do not want the behavior of state agents subject to the scrutiny of the International Community and International Law. These governments want to present a façade of decency, legality and international approval for their ‘values’, but in reality, they made sure that the U.N. could not come nosing around investigating any allegations of torture, cruelty, or inhumane treatment in Britain. The challenge has been put to MP Andrew George to use his influence to do something about it. His Liberal Democrat party is currently governing Britain in a coalition with the Tory Party (!) so he’s in an excellent position to take action and stand up for Human Rights for one and all. Andrew George’s response will be published in ‘The Limpet’ in due course.
Petition against taser:
Open Letter To: Rt.Hon.Andrew George, Member of Parliament for St.Ives & Scilly. 22.5.’13
Re: ANDREW PIMLOTT / ARTICLE 22 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE
To recap, I have written to you numerous times on the subject of stun guns (tasers).
Although the United Nations, the former British Government, the Green Party, Mebyon Kernow, Amnesty International, and a host of Human Rights groups have ruled the use of taser to comprise an illegal act of torture – you have repeatedly declined to state whether you believe the taser to be legal or illegal. Since the UNCAT views taser use as torture, I will use their terminology from now on.
I’m sure you will have heard that Andrew Pimlott, a 32 year old man from Plymouth burnt to death in April 2013 having been taser-tortured by Devon & Cornwall police whilst soaked in fuel and holding a naked flame and a fuel can. This in spite of ACPO Ltd. guidelines warning about using these weapons around gas fumes or spillages.
I had corresponded with the previous Chief Constable, Stephen Otter, pointing out to him that taser violates both UNCAT and UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) His basic response was that a challenge to the legal status of taser could only come from “ministerial level”. However, if you, as my official representative, would not even state your position on the legality of tasers, how could I possibly open democratic channels to initiate a dialogue? Standard letters from the Home Office, promoting the idea that taser is safe and legal are of no relevance and do not constitute dialogue as they do not engage with the questions asked.
When Stefan Naumczyk threw a bottle in a Falmouth street, he was tasered, handcuffed, knelt on and tasered again – on camera, in front of a large crowd. When Penzance police refused to record a complaint of torture, I approached the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Geneva. They told me something very interesting. They told me that they could not look into the complaint because although Thatcher signed the UNCAT in 1985, she did not sign Article (catch?) 22. As I expect you knew, Article 22 provides a mechanism for the implementation of the UNCAT. Until Article 22 is signed, the Convention quite simply can not be put into practice in this country. Therefore, for a nation to sign the UNCAT, but not sign up to Article 22 is a very cynical and deceptive thing to do, as it gives the impression at home and abroad, of Britain being a champion of Human Rights and Freedom, whilst actually giving itself license for sordid and secretive acts of barbarity and callousness.
Well, the CAT is out of the bag now, and the public are rapidly learning the truth about catch 22. The public are learning that every government since ’85 has been going along with a deception, giving the people a false idea that we were protected from inhumane, degrading, cruel treatment, punishment and torture. The public are also learning that Article 22 is the key to initiating the UNCAT and banning all torture instruments, including tasers, from this nation, and others nations. The ordinary people have been fooled for years, because we don’t have time to comb through the small print of international humanitarian legal agreements - we expect our politicians to do that for us. The Tory and New Labour parties are both guilty of failing to act on this when in power. Don’t the Lib Dems pride themselves on standing up for real justice? Would it not be a wise politician who grasped this reality and became a genuine champion of Article 22? Who fulfilled the promise of the Convention Against Torture, rather than going along with this 28 year old deception, this mockery of the Rule of Law?
In summary, Andrew Pimlott is dead, the fifth taser-related death in Britain. So far 779 have died in North America and many more around the World. Today the police in Britain will torture 3 more people with stun guns.
I ask you as my representative to make a strong commitment to the movement towards getting Britain to sign Article 22 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. I ask you to state clearly your legal position on taser. Please take a stand, before someone else is killed in the street by a taser.
With best wishes,
Yours sincerely, Jeremy Schanche, RESIST CARDIAC ARREST.
(Since sending the above letter, four more people have died in USA after being struck by tasers.)
A List of the Tasered-Dead:
nature, democracy, free speech