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UK MPs, rights groups call for torture inquiry

[JURIST] Human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, and Reprieve [advocacy websites] on Monday joined with members of British parliament in calling for an inquiry into the UK role in torture [JURIST news archive] and rendition during the war on terror. In an open letter [text, PDF], the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition [official website] demanded British officials conduct a public hearing on the role played by UK intelligence agencies and armed forces in the alleged torture and rendition of terror suspects. In the letter, the group suggests a lack of governmental transparency on the issue, saying "[t]he public should not have to rely on occasional speeches and lengthy judicial cases to discover the truth about such a serious issue."

The letter comes days after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official profile] failed to deliver a promised public revision of guidelines [JURIST report] given to UK intelligence officers for the treatment of detainees. Brown faces growing scrutiny of UK detainee procedures amid allegations from former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Binyam Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that British intelligence officials were involved in his torture in Morocco. In February, Reprieve initiated a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the UK government over its alleged torture of detainees, claiming that its unwillingness to disclose detainee policies suggests that they permit illegal torture.

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