Sri Lankans expelled from UK allege torture after deportation to Colombo
Fifteen Sri Lankan nationals have claimed they were tortured and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment after they were forcibly removed to the country by the UK Border Agency, the Home Office has said.
In a freedom of information (FoI) request, the Home Office revealed that between the end of the island’s civil war in 2009 and September 2012, 15 failed asylum seekers managed to escape back to Britain after being removed by the agency, the UKBA. They subsequently won refugee status after giving evidence to officials saying they were tortured in Sri Lanka.
Kulasegaram Geetharthanan, a solicitor in the UK, said that one of his clients, understood to be one of the 15 mentioned in the FoI statement, had been gang raped and tortured by Sri Lankan security services after being forcibly removed to the capital, Colombo, on a specially chartered UKBA flight in 2011. Read more.
Shiv Malik | The Guardian | 12th February 2013
Nearly 450 British military drones lost in Iraq and Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas.
The figures highlight the military’s increasing reliance on technologies that are regarded as a way of minimising risks to frontline troops. Officials say the UAVs have operated for thousands of hours on sensitive operations.
The MoD released details of the UAV incidents under the Freedom of Information Act, conceding that their operations were “viewed by some as contentious and there is therefore strong public interest in being as open and transparent as possible” about their use. Read more. Read more.
Nick Hopkins | The Guardian | 12th February 2013
How To Be An MP is the most borrowed book in Parliament
The work, by veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn, is a step-by-step guide on how to placate constituents, advance one’s career, claim expenses and fend off an inquisitive press. It was borrowed 19 times last year from the Commons library, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show – more than any other title.
It offers tips on how to ‘doughnut’ – or surround a speaker in Parliament in order to create the impression on television that the session is well-attended – and how to prevent a political career from derailing a marriage.
Chapter titles include “How to convince voters that the MP never stops working”, “How to dilute boredom”, “How to Climb the Greasy Pole” and “How to write an Abusive Letter”. Read more.
Matthew Holehouse | The Telegraph | 12th February 2013