Nick Tuffney 

Between May 2013 and September 2014, Nicholas Tuffney, a United Kingdom and United States citizen, was detained in Panamanian detention facilities, which were overcrowded, inappropriate and unsanitary; without access to adequate food, water, healthcare, and shelter; and where he was subjected to abuse at the hands of those charged with his care.  Mr Tuffney was never tried or convicted of a crime and in September 2014, the charges against him were dropped and he was deported and banned from Panama for 10 years. 

He was forced to leave behind his young son, whom he has not seen since. On 12 June 2015, the late John Jones QC submitted, on behalf of Mr Tuffney, a complaint to the Special Rapporteur on Torture about Mr Tuffney’s treatment in Panama.  

On 26 October 2016, the Special Rapporteur found that Mr Tuffney had been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and urged the Government of Panama to publicise the developments on this case, and reiterated his call to the Government to begin the investigation, prosecution, and possible conviction of those guilty of abuse and to provide reparations to Mr. Tuffney. 

The Panama government has not to date responded to Mr Tuffney.  With the help of REDRESS, Mr Tuffney instructed Panama attorney Boris Barrios, of Barrios, Barrios Associados to file a criminal complaint in Panama against those state officials responsible for Mr Tuffney’s ill-treatment.  This complaint was filed on 30 August 2016. 

Meanwhile, with the help of REDRESS, Mr Tuffney submitted a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, asking them to investigate the insufficient support offered to him (as a British citizen) by the British Consulate/Embassy in Panama, during and following his detention. This complaint was submitted by Mr Tuffney’s MP on his behalf (as required by the Ombudsman) on 15 November 2017. This complaint followed the receipt of several inadequate responses to earlier complaints made by Mr Tuffney direct to the Consulate/Embassy in Panama, and later to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London.

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