Damning human rights report reveals evidence of UK complicity in torture

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‘The British know well we do not garland or honour terror suspects,’ says Pakistan intelligence officer

Ian Cobain

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 November 2009 20.43 GMT

The latest evidence that British government officials have been complicit in the torture of British citizens during the so-called “war on terror” has come from the most compelling of sources: the torturers themselves.

For more than a year, researchers from Human Rights Watch have been interviewing members of two notorious Pakistani intelligence agencies, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) about the part they have played in British-led counter-terrorism operations.

Concentrating on five British nationals unlawfully detained and tortured in Pakistan between 2004 and 2007, HRW’s senior South Asia researcher, Ali Dayan Hasan, interviewed Pakistani officials “directly involved” in their torture.

In each case, he says, he was given clear evidence of British complicity, which was checked against the accounts of the victims, their families and their lawyers, and medical reports.

The resulting report – Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Ill-treatment of Terror Suspects in Pakistan – will make uncomfortable reading for many in the government, and for many UK intelligence officers and counterterrorism detectives.

In one instance, Pakistani intelligence officers say that their British counterparts were “grateful” that they were torturing a terrorism suspect from Luton who had been detained at the request on the British in April 2004, as this demonstrated that they would be extracting the greatest possible amount of information.

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