16:16, July 04 153 0 theguardian.com

2018-07-04 16:16:05
Former detainees call for inquiry into UK role in torture and jailing

A judicial inquiry must be launched into the extent of British involvement in kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture by the US during the “war on terror”, a group of former detainees says.

In a letter to the Guardian nine former British nationals and residents said they were astounded by the contents of reports released by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee last week which revealed that the UK security services’ links to torture and rendition were more widespread than previously thought.

They said the documents confirmed everything they had “been saying over the course of almost two decades, that British intelligence services were wilfully complicit in our kidnap, false imprisonment, torture and other mistreatment”.

The group, who were detained by the US at “secret prisons” in Kandahar and Bagram, in Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay, said the committee’s report contained statistics that had “astounded even us”, though they described them as the tip of the iceberg.

The parliamentary committee said British intelligence agencies were involved in the torture and kidnap of terrorism suspects after the 9/11 attacks in the US, though it said there was no evidence of British officers’ direct involvement in physical abuse.

But the reports said that both MI5 and MI6 were aware of the mistreatment of detainees by the US and others “at an early point” and cited cases in which they were “party to mistreatment administered by others”.

The reports prompted questions about what the former home secretary Jack Straw knew and when he knew it. They were also being pored over by senior Scotland Yard detectives on the recommendation of MPs.

In their letter, Moazzam Begg, Shaker Aamer and Asif Iqbal, along with Jamil El-Banna, Ruhal Ahmed and Bisher al-Rawi, called on the UK government to “order a comprehensive and transparent judge-led public inquiry into the perpetrators of this abuse, and the individuals who ordered it”.

The letter, also authored by Binyam Mohamed, Shafiq Rasul and Omar Deghayes, read: “Between us we have spent close to 90 years imprisoned without charge or trial. We have endured cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. However, we really do want to put this episode behind us.”

They said they did not trust the US government to properly hold those involved in the torture to account. “On the contrary, since then the US has elected a president who believes that ‘torture works’ and who has appointed someone who ran a torture facility to head the CIA, despite reliable reports alleging she ordered the destruction of evidence documenting torture.

“Therefore, there must be meaningful accountability at the very highest corridors of power to ensure that such crimes never recur.”

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