Fasting for justice

26 September 2013
Jessica Kaplan, Press Officer

This weekend longtime Liberty friend the Reverend Nicholas Mercer and his parish will begin fasting for a week, to draw attention to those unlawfully rendered by the UK and those who’ve suffered torture. They’re also hoping to highlight how the recently passed Justice and Security Act will allow our Government to cover up their complicity in such behaviour. They’ll fast for a day each; many wearing orange boiler suits for their time without food.

Nicholas previously spent 20 years as a lawyer with the British Army, and was the senior legal officer during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He challenged the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at great personal cost, fighting to ensure that human rights were respected on the battlefield. It was for this brave and inspiring work that we named him our Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2011.

In past years, more and more evidence has surfaced suggesting the UK knew about and was involved in the CIA’s post-9/11 programme of rendition and torture. But the Justice and Security Act enables the state to prevent embarrassments like this from ever coming to light. It allows the Government to defend itself against serious allegations of wrongdoing by presenting evidence in secret in civil hearings, making it unchallengeable by the claimant or their lawyer.

UK complicity in torture, rendition and the ongoing detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are the elephants in the room in our democracy – glaring reminders that human rights remain painfully necessary and relevant. If you’d like to help Nicholas and his parish campaign for redress for these injustices, you can find out more and donate at