Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MI5 Accused of Colluding in Torture of Britons in Pakistan

London, Apr 29, IRNA

Officers of Britain's MI5 domestic security agency are being accused of "outsourcing" the torture of British citizens to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) in an attempt to obtain information about terrorist plots.

A number of British terrorism suspects who have been arrested in Pakistan at the request of UK authorities say their interrogation has convinced them that MI5 colluded in the mistreatment, the Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday.

"I am left with no doubt that, at the very worst, the British Security Service instigates the illegal detention and torture of British citizens, and at the very best turns a blind eye to torture," said Tayab Ali, London-based lawyer for two of the victims.

The men were said to have given detailed accounts of their alleged ordeals at the hands of the ISI over the last four years. Some of them appear to have been taken interrogation in Rawalpindi, where they alleged being tortured before being questioned by MI5.

The Guardian quoted one man from Manchester, northern England, saying that in 2006 he was beaten, whipped, deprived of sleep and had three fingernails slowly extracted by ISI agents at the Rawalpindi centre before being interrogated by two MI5 officers.

A second man, from Luton, north of London, alleged that two years earlier he was whipped, suspended by his wrists and beaten, and threatened with an electric drill, possibly at the same torture centre.

Both of the interrogations were linked with the questioning of alleged associates in the UK by British police and led to some being charged.
The Guardian said no attempt was made to extradite either man to be questioned by police officers in the UK, but that they were eventually arrested on arrival in Britain after being placed aboard aircraft and flown in without extradition hearings.

The accusation that MI5 is at the very least turning a blind eye to the torture of British citizens is expected to surface in a number of forthcoming court cases, including the trial of the man who lost his fingernails and an appeal lodged by the man from Luton.

Under the UK's Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is an offence for British officials to instigate or consent to the inflicting of "severe pain or suffering" on any person, anywhere in the world, or even to acquiesce in such treatment.
Last week it was disclosed that eight men freed from US custody at Guantanamo Bay had issued writs against MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, alleging they were complicit in their illegal detention and subsequent abuse.


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