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UK Liberal Democrats demand independent torture investigation

[JURIST] British Liberal Democrats [party website] voted Monday to support a motion [text; press release] calling for a public investigation into the UK's potential complicity in torture. The motion, passed at the party's conference [official website], calls for:

A full and independent public inquiry into the facts relating to the involvement or knowledge of the British Government on matters relating to torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal transfer of detainees to foreign jurisdictions in the period between 11 September 2001 and 20 January 2009.

The motion also requests details relating to every British policy on the matters from the last 20 years, the release of 42 documents relating to the treatment of Binyam Mohamad [Reprieve profile; JURIST news archive], that foreign governments not support Tony Blair [official profile] for the presidency of the European Council [official website] pending a determination of his role in condoning torture, and that the UK renegotiate the US's use of Diego Garcia [Global Security backgrounder; JURIST news archive] "to include full respect for fundamental human rights and a complete accounting of the circumstances in which the base on that island was used in relation to internationally prohibited acts." The conference, which began Saturday, is scheduled to run through Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary David Miliband [official profile] announced that the British government was investigating [JURIST report] allegations that Secret Intelligence Service officers had tortured detainees. The announcement came in response to a report [text] published in August 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. Miliband, joined by Home Secretary Alan Johnson [official profile] and MI6 Chief John Scarlett, denied the allegations [JURIST report], saying that the UK does not participate in or condone the use of torture. Allegations in the report include the complicity in torture of Mohamed before he was brought to Guantanamo Bay. In July, the UK Metropolitan Police Service announced that it was investigating the alleged mistreatment [JURIST report] of Mohamed by intelligence officers. Mohamed 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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