British agent will not be prosecuted over torture claims

18th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British intelligence officer accused of having abused Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed will not be charged, the country's public prosecutor said Wednesday.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said London police had been told there was insufficient evidence to bring action against the officer for any offence committed during questioning following Mohamed's arrest in Pakistan in 2002.

"We are unable to release further information at this stage because the wider investigation into other potential criminal conduct arising from allegations made by Mr still ongoing," Starmer said.

Ethiopian-born British resident Mohamed was arrested as a suspected terrorist when he attempted to board a plane with a false passport in Karachi in April 2002.

Mohamed said he was tortured into admitting terrorist charges and was secretly flown to Morocco on board an illegal "extraordinary rendition" flight by the US.

He has accused British intelligence agency MI5 of having been complicit in these acts.

The suspect was flown to Afghanistan and then Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba in 2004 before the US dropped all charges against him in 2008. He was eventually released and returned to Britain in February 2009.

MI5 has said it was unaware of Mohamed's location after he was flown out of Pakistan and said the US refused to tell them where he was being held.

"I am delighted that after a thorough police investigation the Crown Prosecution Service has concluded that Witness B has no case to answer in respect of his interviewing of Mr Binyam Mohammed," MI5 director general Jonathan Evans said.

High court judges revealed that MI5 documents showed the officer had visited Morocco in November 2002 and February 2003. An investigation into these visits is ongoing.

Tim Cooke-Hurle, of legal charity Reprieve, which represented Mohamed, said: "We welcome the news that the police are pursuing wider investigations into the abuse of Binyam Mohamed and others.

"Rather than scapegoating front-line officers, the investigation must focus on the chain of command that may have allowed torture complicity by the British security and intelligence services, to ensure that it never happens again."

The decision comes in the same week that the British government agreed to pay 16 former Guantanamo detainees, including Mohamed, hefty settlements over claims its agents colluded in torture abroad.

The government has denied this was an admission of guilt.

© 2010 AFP

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