Intelligence services reveal concern on 15 'torture' cases

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The Independent Online

MI5 and MI6 have uncovered at least 15 cases in which British intelligence officers may have been complicit in the torture of terrorist suspects, which could lead to further police investigations.

The two services reviewed their files after Scotland Yard announced last week it would investigate claims by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed that former MI5 officers were complicit in his interrogation and torture. Mr Mohamed alleges that an MI5 officer supplied detailed questions concerning acquaintances and locations in London to his interrogators when he was tortured at a secret prison in Morocco following his arrest in Pakistan in 2002.

The 15 new cases concern individuals believed to include British nationals who were questioned under US control by British officers looking for information on possible terrorist attacks in the UK. Most date from between 2002 and 2004, when large numbers of terrorist suspects had been captured in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Unlike the US agents, the British officers were told to work within the provisions of the Geneva Convention, it was reported. In some instances the British officers voiced concerns that suspects were being mistreated, but their fears were not followed up.

Most of the interrogations were conducted immediately after the September 11 attacks, sources told the Daily Telegraph, when officers were not prepared for either the heavy caseload or the approach of their American counterparts.

Announcing the investigation into Mr Mohamed's claims, the Attorney General Baroness Scotland said that she and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, had reviewed a "substantial body of material" relating to the case, including testimony from an MI5 officer.

"I have concluded that the appropriate course of action is to invite the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to commence an investigation into the allegations that have been made in relation to Binyam Mohamed," she said.

Mr Mohamed's claims were referred to Lady Scotland last year by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith after they surfaced in a High Court case brought by his lawyers.