Human rights groups boycott rendition and torture inquiry


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The Independent Online

Te inquiry into whether British security services were complicit in the rendition and torture of terrorism suspects was thrown into chaos yesterday when a key group of human rights lawyers and campaign organisations pulled out.

The boycott was sparked by the publication of the inquiry's protocols which ruled that the Government would have the final say over whether the material uncovered during proceedings could be made public.

Lawyers representing former detainees of Guantanamo and secret prisons abroad said their clients would also be unable to cross-examine evidence or witnesses, describing the torture inquiry as "secretive and toothless". In a joint letter to the inquiry, the 10 groups – including Liberty, Amnesty and Reprieve – said they felt compelled to boycott proceedings because of the lack of "credibility or transparency".

A spokeswoman for the inquiry insisted that it would still go ahead. She said the inquiry "would welcome" evidence to back up claims of the involvement by UK agencies and said of the boycott: "We hope they will reconsider their decision."