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UK Government Spied on Amnesty International

Sputnik News

12:22 02.07.2015(updated 12:45 02.07.2015)

The United Kingdom's surveillance tribunal has notified Amnesty International that it was under surveillance by UK government intelligence agencies, the watchdog said in a press release.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Last week, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) admitted that the UK intelligence agency GCHQ had spied on the communications of the South African Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) human rights groups.

However, on Wednesday, Amnesty International received an email from the IPT, claiming it was actually Amnesty International and not EIPR that was being watched by the UK government agency.

"It's outrageous that what has been often presented as being the domain of despotic rulers has been occurring on British soil, by the British government," Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said, as quoted in a press release on Wednesday.

He added that human rights' defenders and victims of abuses would no longer believe in the confidentiality of their correspondence with Amnesty International, if such communications were 'likely to end up in the hands of governments."

"The revelation that the UK government has been spying on Amnesty International highlights the gross inadequacies in the UK's surveillance legislation," Shetty pointed out.

The watchdog called for legal reform in the United Kingdom to require judicial authorization and oversight of the use of surveillance by UK intelligence, and an inquiry into the UK government's spying on human rights groups.

In April, Amnesty International and other human rights groups filed a joint application against the UK government over its mass surveillance program.

The lawsuit argues that the UK law governing the interception of communications by UK intelligence agencies and such agencies' data-sharing practices with the United States violate the human rights stipulated in the European Convention on Human Rights.


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