MI5 let Pakistani spies torture British citizens: report

April 29th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 29 (IANS) A number of British citizens are to sue the MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, claiming it had allowed Pakistani spies to torture them in order to extract information about Al Qaeda, a newspaper reported Tuesday. The Guardian said a number of British terrorism suspects arrested in Pakistan at the request of British authorities allege they were brutally tortured by agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) acting in collusion with the MI5.

The men say they were repeatedly tortured before being questioned by MI5 officers, and allege an “outsourcing” of torture by the British.

The charge that the MI5 at the very least turned a blind eye to the torture of British citizens is to come up in a number of court cases, including trials involving two men from Manchester and Luton - towns that have a large population of Pakistani Muslims.

The man from Manchester says Pakistani torturers in Rawalpindi slowly removed three of his fingernails in 2006. His lawyers say his fingernails were missing when they were eventually allowed to see him, more than a year after he was first detained.

The man from Luton says he was whipped, suspended by his wrists and beaten, and threatened with an electric drill, possibly at the same torture centre. His interrogation is reported to have been coordinated with the questioning of several associates in London and a suspect in Canada.

Tayab Ali, a London-based lawyer for the two men, told the paper: “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.”

The paper said the MI5 is thought to be considering a defence based on its officers’ insistence that they did not know about the tortures.

The Guardian said it was also aware of claims by a number of other British citizens that they were tortured after being detained as terrorism suspects in Pakistan - charges that are expected to be raised by human rights groups and in the British parliament by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie.

Under British laws 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.

The offence is punishable by up to life imprisonment.

The Daily Mail revealed April 18 that eight men, including five Britons, freed from the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay are suing the MI5 and its external counterpart, the MI6, arguing that Britain was complicit in their allegedly illegal abduction, treatment and interrogation.

The other three are foreign nationals living in Britain.

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