London – The findings of the Intelligence and Security Committee Report into the killing of Lee Rigby will give more power to security agencies, while ignoring the core issue behind the tragedy: how did they fail to prevent an attack by someone under their watch?

The enquiry has not dealt with the issue of Michael Adebolajo’s harassment by security services while in the UK, and his torture in Kenya, which took place with their full knowledge. Instead, the Woolwich enquiry shifts the spotlight by placing the blame at the door of internet service providers.
This is a clear excuse for security agencies to pressure companies to allow closer monitoring of social media sites and other websites. It is a direct threat to British civil liberties. CAGE calls for a full and balanced enquiry into why Adebolajo’s torturers have not been held accountable within the rule of law.

Adebolajo’s pleas for help in the wake of being tortured by Kenyan police, and on his return to the UK where he was subsequently harassed by MI5 to be an informant, despite his continual refusals, were ignored by British officials and directly resulted in his alienation from society.

His intimidation at the hands of the UK authorities on his return put him and his family in a constant state of fear. This was exacerbated by the threats made against his brother Jeremiah while he was living in Saudi Arabia.

The tragedy in Woolwich is an example of how the British government’s counter-terrorism policies do nothing but foment more violence.

CAGE has the following concerns in relation to the report: 

“The Woolwich enquiry targets internet service providers and freedom of speech. This is a clear excuse to grant security agencies even more power over British society, when these powers haven’t been working to combat extremism for the last 13 years,” says CAGE spokesperson Amandla Thomas-Johnson.

“Given the heavy redaction of the report, its failure to hold security services to account and the fact that it only took testimony from an establishment inner circle that did not include CAGE, the Adebolajo family or those who knew Michael, its findings are skewed and must be rejected.”

“The physical abuse Adebolajo suffered was also not investigated. When those close to him came forward to report this abuse, they were harassed or detained.
The excuse that ‘not all terrorist attacks’ can be prevented is just not good enough from a state apparatus whose blind eye to rendition and torture continues, and whose domestic and foreign policies are at the root cause of many of these attacks,” said Thomas-Johnson.

“The findings of the report are an assault on all Britons. Rights are being stripped away at an unprecedented rate.
How can this enquiry be trusted when it has not been transparent and has relied so heavily on secret evidence? A year after the ISC refused to hold our security services to account for the Snowden revelations that showed them to be harvesting vast amounts of our personal information, the ISC have played to their tune once more and have come up with a report without accountability or substance.”

Contact:        Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone:          +(44) 207 377 6700

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)