British MPs demand probe into Muslim torture allegations

July 20th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by ANI  

London , July 20 (ANI): Members of Parliament are demanding a full probe into the allegations of British Muslims who said that they were arrested and tortured with the full knowledge of diplomats and intelligence officers during interrogation.

The call for an enquiry is being made following Westminster ‘’s Foreign Affairs Committees conclusions that it is extremely important that the claims of the so-called ”outsourcing” of torture are cleared up.

In one reported case, a young medical student was abducted at gunpoint in August 2005 and held for two months at the offices of Pakistan ‘’s Intelligence Bureau where, he claimed, he was whipped, beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with execution.

He claimed he was questioned by British intelligence officers there, saying that they must have known about the conditions he was being held in.

According to the Scotsman, a second Briton, Tariq Mahmood, 35, a taxi driver from Birmingham , also said that he was abducted in Rawalpindi in October 2003 before being released without charge about five months later.

He said he was tortured and MI5 officers and American officers had a hand in his mistreatment.

MI5 has denied any involvement in torture. The Home Office insisted that the intelligence services “do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture”.

But the Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by a Labour MP, is now demanding further inquiries.

In their report, published today, they said: We conclude that it is extremely important that the veracity of allegations that the Government has ”outsourced” interrogation techniques involving the torture of British nationals by Pakistani authorities should be investigated.

The report singles out Pakistan ‘’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, where a number of Britons, some who have dual Pakistani nationality, have been held and allegedly tortured before being flown to the UK to stand trial.

“Irrespective of these allegations, we recommend that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should immediately seek full consular access in all cases where it is aware of mono- or dual-national British citizens being detained by the Pakistani authorities, and in particular by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” it said.

The chairman of the committee Mike Gapes said: “Our report highlighted a number of human rights issues related to counter-terrorism. We conclude that, given the recent US practice of water-boarding, the British Government can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture.”

Amnesty International UK head of policy Jeremy Croft said: “While we have always stressed the need to combat terrorism, we share the committee’’s concerns over the UK Government and its current counter-terrorism policy.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The Security and Intelligence Agencies do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or inhumane or degrading treatment. For reasons both ethical and legal, their policy is not to carry out any action which they know would result in torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.”

She added: “The ISC (Intelligence and Security Committee] gave the Security Service a clean bill of health in its 2005 report on torture.” (ANI)

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