Tribunal finds GCHQ unlawfully monitored human rights groups in Egypt and South Africa

22 Jun 2015

Liberty and others v GCHQ and others [2015] UKIPTrib 13_77-H_2

In its third judgment in Liberty and others v GCHQ and others, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has found that GCHQ violated the privacy rights of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the South African Legal Resources Centre under Article 8 ECHR when it examined their email communications without following the required procedure.

Although the Tribunal previously found the legal framework governing GCHQ’s receipt of intercepted communications to have breached Article 8, it made no finding that any of the Claimants’ communications had actually been intercepted or read. Today’s ruling, by contrast, is a finding that GCHQ broke the law by reading emails of two human rights organisations based in Egypt and South Africa respectively.

This is the third IPT judgment in this case and has been widely reported in the media, including Sky News and The Guardian. The full judgment can be read here.

Eric Metcalfe acted for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Legal Resources Centre, together with Liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. The organisations brought a joint complaint against the UK intelligence services in 2013 following publication of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.