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Inquiry reveals UK officers may be complicit in torture of terror suspects

The British National Security and Intelligence Committee revealed in a report [text, PDF] on Thursday that an investigation has found evidence that Britain has been complicit in the torture and rendition of terror suspects. The investigation was run by Sir Peter Gibson [materials], a retired judge, and involved reviewing 20,000 top secret documents released after the 9/11 terrorist attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. Although Gibson found no evidence that officers were directly involved in the torture of detainees, he recommended further investigation into allegations of complicity. Gibson theorized that the government had been inadequately prepared to deal with the demands of interrogation in the wake of 9/11. There was insufficient oversight and guidelines to govern behavior of the MI5 [official website] and MI6. Although the report makes no final conclusions, it sets out a list of 27 issues that require further examination.

The British government has not shied away from the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] controversy, launching an investigation into torture allegations in May 2010 as well as ruling that state intelligence agencies cannot use secret evidence [JURIST reports] in their defense against abuse. This issue came up in the ongoing case of Binyam Mohamed [JURIST news archive], a British citizen formerly detained in Guantanamo Bay who is thought to be included in the settlement. Mohamed was returned to the UK in February 2009 after charges against him were dismissed [JURIST reports] in October 2008. Mohamed had been held at Guantanamo Bay for four years on suspicion of conspiracy to commit terrorism [JURIST report].

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