UK ‘foot dragging’ on torture allegation inquiries
Published 09/03/2009 | 00:59
The Government has been accused of dragging its feet in dealing with allegations that British intelligence officials were complicit in the torture of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Binyam Mohamed.
Mr Mohamed’s lawyers said the last thing the Government wanted was for the “truth to come out”.
Ethiopian-born Mr Mohamed, a British resident, used an interview to claim MI5 fed his US captors specific questions which he said led him to falsely confessing to terrorist activities.
But Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday insisted that the Government did not condone or use torture.
Politicians and human rights groups have lined up to call for an inquiry and a police investigation into Mr Mohamed’s torture claims.
Ms Smith told Sky News: “We absolutely oppose torture in this country. We don’t condone it, we don’t use it.
“Our international partners know that is our position and if allegations are made we will always investigate them and that will involve, if necessary, police investigations.”
But Mr Mohamed’s lawyers and human rights group Reprieve yesterday accused her of empty words.
Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith said: “Pious words are all very well but what we really need is actions.”
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Mr Mohamed, who was released from the notorious detention centre in Cuba last month, revealed harrowing details of his imprisonment including allegations that he was held at a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan.
He claimed that while kept in Kabul’s "dark prison" he was forced to remain in continuous darkness for weeks on end.
In the prison, he claims he was shackled, forced to listen to never-ending music, kept in a standing position, was fed contaminated food and denied proper washing facilities.
The allegations were referred to the Attorney General’s Office who will determine whether police should conduct a criminal investigation.