UK intelligence chief denies 'complicity' in torture

[JURIST] Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) [official website] John Scarlett said that the British secret service did not participate in or condone torture, during a BBC radio interview [materials] broadcast Monday. Scarlett denied that the SIS, better known as MI6, was involved in torture, saying there has been "no torture and there is no complicity with torture." Scarlett added that, "[o]ur officers are as committed to the values and the human rights values of liberal democracy as anybody else." Scarlett's comments come after Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson [official profiles] denied allegations [Telegraph report] of torture in a joint article appearing in the Telegraph on Sunday. Miliband and Johnson wrote:


There is no truth in suggestions that the security and intelligence services operate without control or oversight. There is no truth in the more serious suggestion that it is our policy to collude in, solicit, or directly participate in abuses of prisoners. Nor is it true that alleged wrongdoing is covered up.

Miliband and Johnson's statement came in response to a a report [text] published last week by the UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website] calling for an independent inquiry [JURIST report] into allegations regarding government complicity in the torture of UK terrorism suspects in Pakistan and elsewhere. Allegations in the report include the complicity in torture of UK resident Binyam Mohammed [Reprieve profile; JURIST news archive] before he was brought to Guantanamo Bay. Last month, the UK Metropolitan Police Service announced that it was investigating the alleged mistreatment [JURIST report] of Mohammed by intelligence officers. Mohammed claims that he was tortured by Pakistani agents and interrogated by FBI and MI5 agents complicit in his abuse. He was transferred to Morocco, allegedly part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] program, where he claims that British agents supplied his torturers with questions.


 

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