It was announced today (e.g. the BBC website) that the Law Lords have ruled three Britons - Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker, and Ron Jones - and Canadian Bill Sampson, cannot sue Saudi Arabian officials who they say tortured them. The case of alleged torture followed the jailing of the four men, after they had been accused of taking part in a bombing campaign in Saudi Arabia six years ago.
The key argument made is that Saudi officials are protected by state immunity, under the 1978 State Immunity Act. This decision would appear to protect the rights of torturers rather than those of the tortured, and at first it seems a strange stand for the British to take. However, this matter is not as straightforward as it is portrayed, and there may be other reasons why the British government wants to end any discussion about what happened to the 4 men in Saudi Arabia.
According to Gordon Logan, the real organisation behind the Saudi bombings was none other than MI6, and it was a bungled and wrong-minded operation from the beginning. You can read Mr. Logan's claims on the Cryptome website here.
It appears that the previous head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, has a lot to answer for in planning this Saudi bombing adventure - a real Boy's Own fiasco by all accounts. The mess created by the MI6 operation caused Tony Blair to sack Dearlove just before the prisoners returned to London in 2003. The fallout from the bad publicity could have cost Blair his job as well, but the press in Britain is already well gagged.