This House believes that torture is only acceptable under legal supervision
Monday May 28 2007
MOTION REJECTED by 42% to 58%
Khawar QureshiSpeaking for the motion
Khawar Qureshi is a Barrister and Queen’s Counsel (a barrister who is appointed as counsel to the British crown) in the UK. He specializes in commercial law and international arbitration and has advised and opposed more than 40 governments on these issues as well as on a range of other issues including torture, terrorism and the extradition of alleged Al Qaeda members.
Mr. Qureshi was counsel for the US Government in a case concerning the extradition of three alleged Al-Qaeda members before the House of Lords. He was one of only four specially vetted barristers who appeared as Special Advocates in hearings under the ATCSA 2001 (Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act) concerning alleged suspected international terrorists. Mr. Qureshi was also engaged as junior counsel (being led by the UK Attorney General) in the first ever domestic prosecution for torture.
He was Counsel for Bosnia-Herzegovina (1993-1998) in its case against Serbia and Montenegro before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague (brought under the Genocide Convention 1948). He was the youngest advocate ever to have appeared before the ICJ. He was also Legal Adviser to the Bosnian Gover nment at the Dayton Peace Talks in 1995.
Mr. Qureshi is a visiting professor in commercial law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and was a visiting lecturer in international law at King’s College, London, from 1989-1993. He is involved with numerous initiatives to bring people together from various faiths whether at professional, theological, political or student level.
Freshta RaperSpeaking against the motion
Freshta Raper is an Iraqi Kurd from Halabja who was a victim of torture in her home country.
In the mid-1980s, Mrs. Raper was arrested and tortured in an Iraq jail for hiding two 16 year olds in the Halabja school where she was a mathematics teacher. The students had taken part in an anti-government protest and were fleeing Iraqi intelligence officers. They managed to escape, but Mrs. Raper was arrested the following day and held for 3 days.
She later joined the Peshmergas – the anti-Saddam Kurdish guerrillas.
The attack on Halabja with chemical weapons in March 1988 killed all of Mrs. Raper's extended family still living in Halabja and the pupils at the school where she used to teach. She was living in the mountains at the time, so she and some of her immediate family escaped. But she was injured in a chemical bomb attack in the campaign which followed the bombing of Halabja.
She fled Iraq and eventually moved to Britain in 1990 where she now lives with her husband and young children.
Mrs. Raper had returned to the Kurdish part of Iraq at the end of 2003 to help with the reconstruction of the country following Saddam Hussein’s removal from power but she became disillusioned and returned to London after just six months.
Mrs. Raper is now the Director of Learning at secondary school in inner London and is studying for a Masters degree in “Education Policy and Society".
Bob StewartSpeaking for the motion
Colonel Bob Stewart was the first British Commander under United Nations command in Bosnia and is a former Chief of Policy at (NATO) Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe.
During his time in the military, Colonel Stewart was an intelligence officer and company commander in Northern Ireland, an instructor at Sandhurst and a staff officer in Military Operations within the Ministry of Defence and Military Assistant to the Chairman of NATO's Military Committee in Brussels. In March 1991 he assumed command of 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment. As Commanding Officer, he was the first British Commander under United Nations command in Bosnia during 1992-93. On returning from Bosnia he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and promoted to Colonel. He then took up the appointment of Chief of Policy at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe.
He left the British Army in 1995 and is now a freelance consultant specialising in Leadership, Security, Intelligence, Motivation, Communications, Crisis Management and Negotiation.
He is the author of 'Broken Lives' about command during the Balkan War. He was the ITN News Channel Defence anchor during the last Gulf War.
Colonel Stewart holds a 1st Class Degree in International Politics and Strategy from the University of Wales (Aberystwyth) and is a fellow of Kingston University Business and Law School.
Irene KhanSpeaking against the motion
Irene Khan has been the Secretary General of Amnesty International, the world's largest human rights organization, since August 2001. As the first woman, first Asian and first Muslim to head the organisation, she has led Amnesty International through many challenging developments in the wake of 11th September 2001.
Prior to joining Amnesty International, Ms. Khan worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for 21 years. She served in many parts of the world and her roles included Deputy Director in the Department of International Protection, Chief of Mission in India, Senior Legal Advisor for Asia and Senior Executive Officer to the High Commissioner. In 1977, she helped to found Concern Universal, a UK-based development NGO.
In 2002 Ms. Khan was awarded the Pilkington "Women of the Year" award. In 2003 she received the John Owens Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Manchester. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Ferris University (Japan), Staffordshire University and London University (UK) and Ghent University (Belgium). She has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Asians in the UK.
She is a graduate of Harvard Law School in the US and the University of Manchester in the UK.