Britain to announce torture complicity probe: report

30th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain is poised to announce the details of a judge-led inquiry into claims its secret agents were complicit in the torture of terror suspects after a spate of allegations, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed the terms of the probe, which include possible compensation if there is proof someone was tortured with the knowledge of British secret services, said the broadcaster.

Cameron's Conservative party and their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats both called for an inquiry into the claims in the run-up to last month's general election which brought them into power.

Calls from human rights campaigners have been mounting here for a probe after a slew of allegations.

The most high-profile case has been that of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who claims the country's secret services knew of his torture at the hands of United States agents.

The BBC said details could be announced as early as this week, but Downing Street refused to confirm the report.

"As the Foreign Secretary (William Hague) has said, there are important issues to be considered. An announcement will be made in due course," said a spokeswoman.

Hague confirmed last month that a judge would investigate the claims of complicity in torture, but said details of the inquiry were still being worked out.

The previous Labour government and the secret services had fought a determined fightback amid rising public concern over the issue.

The case of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamed, born in Ethiopia but a British resident, has 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 London and Washington.

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

Campaigners on Tuesday welcomed the reports that the announcement of an inquiry was imminent.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: "Liberty has long called for a public inquiry into complicity in torture during the war on terror."

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.

© 2010 AFP

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