BBC News – 2009-02-05 09:21:56
Tory MP Demands Torture Statement
(February 4, 2009) — A senior Conservative says ministers must urgently respond to allegations that Britain was complicit in torture. David Davis said a High Court ruling on Wednesday alleged a British resident held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba had been tortured.
The ruling suggested the US threatened to withdraw intelligence help from the UK if details were released, Mr Davis claimed in the House of Commons. The BBC’s Nick Robinson said the claims were “extraordinarily serious”.
The allegations relate to Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held in Guantanamo, who alleges he was tortured in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. Mr Davis said a High Court ruling, which pointed to complicity by the UK and US authorities in his torture, was prevented from being published after the US put pressure on the UK. He said the US had threatened to withdraw intelligence co-operation from the UK if this happened.
The former shadow home secretary raised the case in a point of order in the House of Commons. He said Foreign Secretary David Miliband should make a statement to MPs about the issue as soon as possible to “explain what the devil is going on”.
Mr Davis said the US authorities should not interfere with the UK judicial process. He also said the UK government should make it “plain” that it did not support torture in any circumstances.
Mr Mohamed, 30, has been held in Guantanamo for four years on terrorism charges.
The US authorities accuse him of conspiring with Al-Qaeda leaders to plan a series of terrorist attacks. But Mr Mohamed – who once lived in Britain but is not a British citizen – says documents support the fact that the evidence against him was obtained through torture.
Last August, Lord Justice Thomas said that evidence relating to the case should be disclosed, saying it was “essential”. However, the British government argued that the disclosure of certain material would cause “significant damage to national security of the United Kingdom”.
Mr Davis said the Judge had made it clear in Wednesday’s ruling that information in the case was in the public interest although it was “potentially embarrassing” to the government. He said the Judge had stated that the US government had “threatened” its UK counterpart about the repercussions should details of the case be made public.
He said Mr Miliband must explain why this had happened and whether the new Obama administration supported its predecessor’s stance on the issue. “While he is at it, he [the foreign secretary] should explain what degree of complicity we have in this,” he told the BBC.
Mr Davis said the government had taken a “highly principled stand” against torture but it was unclear whether British agencies used information obtained from torture committed by others.
© BBC MMIX
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes