Britain to probe torture complicity claims: Hague

21st May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A judge will investigate claims that Britain's secret services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects after a spate of damaging allegations, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Details of the probe were being worked out by his Conservative party and their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, and would be published soon, said the minister late Thursday.

A slew of allegations -- including that of Binyam Mohamed who claims British intelligence services colluded in torturing him with US agents -- have sparked a fierce row here between the authorities and human rights campaigners.

"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," the foreign minister told the BBC.

"We have said again in the coalition agreement that we want a judge-led inquiry."

Both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems had called for an investigation into recent claims of complicity in torture before the May 6 election which brought them into power.

Hague continued: "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."

The case of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamed, born in Ethiopia but a British resident, is the most high-profile to have focused attention on the role of British secret services' treatment of terror suspects.

He won a legal bid in February which forced a British court to disclose details of his mistreatment by American agents, in the face of resistance from Britain and the United States.

Mohamed claims he was "tortured in medieval ways" and alleges British security service MI5 colluded with his interrogation in Pakistan in 2002. He was detained for seven years, including more than four at Guantanamo.

Police are also investigating allegations that the intelligence services were complicit in the abuse of Shaker Aamer, Britain's last inmate at Guantanamo.

The country's rights watchdog, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, called in February for an independent probe into claims the security services colluded in the torture of more than 20 terror suspects.

Ministers in the last government and the secret services launched a determined fightback amid rising public concern over the issue.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown said in February: "We do not torture, and we do not ask others to do so on our behalf."

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article