British inquiry indicts FCDO for inaction in securing Kanu’s release

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office's handling of state-level hostage situations has called for more action to free Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra.

Bindmans LLP published a submission on behalf of Nnamdi Kanu's family into the FCDO's failures to take appropriate action in response to Mr Kanu's torture, extraordinary rendition, and arbitrary detention.

As a result, according to Bindmans LLP, the FCDO has been asked to ensure that it provides family members with timely and unprompted updates on the steps it is taking on their behalf.

The purpose of the November 15, 2022 Inquiry was to examine the processes and approaches used by the British government to secure the release of detainees in Iran and elsewhere, including Kanu.

As a result, the submission examined the British government's approach in Mr Kanu's case and highlighted its limited effectiveness in light of the serious violations of international law that have been and continue to be committed against Mr Kanu, a British national.

Kanu was kidnapped and detained in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 19, 2021, before being extradited from Kenya to Nigeria to face criminal charges related to his IPOB activities.

Since then, he has been detained in deplorable conditions at the DSS headquarters in Abuja, and he has been repeatedly denied access to medical care and his legal team.

Kanu requested consular assistance from the British government, but British High Commission officials were only allowed to visit him five times.

Bindmans LLP noted that the FCDO "should reassess its policy in respect of providing consular access to dual British nationals abroad, particularly in circumstances where there is a serious risk of torture, and where there are grounds to suspect that serious and egregious violations of international law have been committed by the state in question against the British national in their custody.

"The FCDO should be open and transparent with family members about its justification for adopting a certain approach and disregarding others.

"The FCDO should adopt and implement a specific policy governing appropriate action to be taken on behalf of British nationals subjected to extraordinary rendition."

It regretted that, despite the Nigerian Court of Appeal ruling and UN condemnation, successive Foreign Secretaries had refused to reach a firm conclusion on whether Mr Kanu had been subjected to extraordinary rendition, nor had they called for his release.

Bindmans challenged former Foreign Secretary Liz Truss' unwillingness to reach a decisive view that Mr Kanu was a victim of extraordinary rendition and other human rights violations by the Nigerian government in a judicial review, an approach maintained by her successor, James Cleverly.

Given Mr Kanu's continued detention, the Kanu family hopes that the Inquiry, and thus the British government, will seriously consider the following recommendations made in the submission.

Mr Kanu's family was represented at the enquiry by Bindmans LLP's John Halford and Shirin Marker, as well as Charlotte Kilroy KC of Blackstone Chambers and Tatyana Eatwell of Doughty Street Chambers, and a decision is pending.

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