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British government to probe torture claims

The new coalition Government is committed to setting up a "judge-led inquiry" into allegations of British security services complicity in torture overseas, the Foreign Secretary has confirmed.

William Hague said details of the probe were being worked on by the power-sharing parties and would be published "pretty soon" but declined to say whether it would be a judicial inquiry.

Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats called for such an investigation of a number of recent claims before the election - including those by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed.

He said he was tortured in Pakistan while held by the CIA, with the knowledge of the British.

Mr Hague told the BBC: "We will be setting out in the not-too-distant future what we are going to do about the allegations that have been made about complicity in torture. We have said again in the coalition agreement that we want a judge-led inquiry.

"So will there be an inquiry of some form? Yes, both parties in the coalition said they wanted that. Now we are working on what form that should take. Proposals on this will follow pretty soon."

In fact there was no explicit mention of the issue in today's coalition agreement document, beyond a commitment that: "We will never condone the use of torture."

The UK's human rights watchdog, campaigners and two influential Commons committees all called for an independent inquiry.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown insisted in February that the work of the security services "does not undermine the principles and values that are the best guarantee of our future security.

"We condemn torture without reservation. We do not torture, and we do not ask others to do so on our behalf. We are clear that officials must not be complicit in mistreatment of detainees."


From Belfast Telegraph