First Torture trial in Britain cancelled
During the week beginning the 11th January 1999, the first trial for torture in the UK was to have been heard at the High Court in Edinburgh. The accused, a Sudanese doctor called Dr Mohammed Mahgoub was alleged to have to participated in torture in Sudan before coming to Britain to study in Dundee. In 1998 PHR-UK contributed evidence to the case that led to the arrest of Dr Mohammed Mahgoub.

Sudanese security forces are known to have tortured victims in so called ‘ghost houses’ since the 1989 military coup that overthrew Sudan's democratically elected government. This case, the first of its kind, was to have been prosecuted as a result of the UK’s legal obligations as a party to the UN Convention against Torture, which under Article 5.2. are: “to establish its jurisdiction over [acts of torture] in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him.” The UK incorporated this provision into law under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Ultimately the Crown Office in Edinburgh decided to drop charges against Dr Mahgoub

No reasons were forthcoming from the Crown Office for its decision but it is probable that the evidence was insufficient.


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Web deployment by Rahul Roychoudhuri. DHR is the trading name of Physicians for Human Rights - UK. Registered Company No 3792515. Registered Charity No 1078420   October 20, 2018, 6:05 pm GMT   Copyright Physicians for Human Rights-UK(c)2004