UK lawmakers urge inquiry into alleged torture complicity

UK lawmakers urge inquiry into alleged torture complicity

[JURIST] The UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website] released a report [text] Tuesday calling for an independent inquiry into allegations regarding government complicity in the torture of UK terrorism suspects in Pakistan and elsewhere. Maintaining that complicity in torture is a violation of international human rights obligations, the committee examined how complicity can be defined and reported a large number of "credible allegations" of such conduct. Examples set forth include asking foreign intelligence services known to use torture to question an individual, providing such agencies with information or questions regarding an individual, and systematically receiving information known or thought likely to have been obtained through torture. Additionally, the report states that the UK is complicit if they merely should have known that torture was taking place. Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Lewis [official profile] denied the allegations and stated that their policies are made clear [BBC report] to countries with which they work. The committee's report calls for recommendations to be made to improve government accountability for security and intelligence services.

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.