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Tayab Ali acts for two terrorists claiming torture
Who? Tayab Ali, 34, partner in the special cases unit at London firm Irvine Thanvi Natas.
Why is he in the news? Acts for two convicted al-Qaeda terrorists, Rangzieb Ahmed and Salahuddin Amin, who claim that they were tortured with the complicity of the British security services while detained overseas. Ali has written to the home secretary demanding an investigation.
Ahmed claims MI5 drew up a list of questions for officers from the Pakistani intelligence agency to put to him under torture. He was subsequently jailed for directing terrorism. Amin, convicted for his part in a plot to blow up a shopping centre and nightclub, also claims he was tortured in Pakistan on MI5’s behalf. The British government denies the allegations.
Former shadow home secretary David Davis has called on the government to launch a judicial inquiry into these and other cases of alleged complicity in torture.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Rangzieb Ahmed claims he was beaten with heavy tyre rubber, stripped naked, sexually humiliated and had three of his nails slowly ripped from his fingers [in Pakistan]. How one human being can do this to another is beyond me. I cannot understand how anyone could try and justify this criminal behaviour by saying they were protecting our freedoms. Speaking to Rangzieb, Salahuddin and others who have been [allegedly] tortured chills me to the core. The evidence... over the last few years can lead to only one rational conclusion; it is time for honesty and accountability. There must be an independent public inquiry.’
Dealing with media: ‘Press interest in these cases has been huge and helpful. Unusually, both the left and right have recognised the importance of the issues raised.’
Career high: ‘I am constantly amazed that I have the privilege of fighting for people’s rights as a job – my career itself is a high point.’
Career low: ‘My despair at hearing Salahuddin Amin’s account of being held and tortured in a secret detention centre in Pakistan. Throughout the 10 months he was there, he says, British security services visited him regularly, but did nothing to stop what he was going through.’