Interrogation practices to be questioned

Ministers are to face a legal challenge over the use of secret guidance given to members of the secret services when interrogating prisoners abroad.

Lawyers and human-rights groups claim the unpublished codes of practice, issued in 2002 and 2004, allowed officers working for MI5 and MI6 to collude in torture. Reprieve, which represents Binyam Mohamed and several other former Guantanamo Bay detainees, is to go to court to force the Government to disclose what it describes as Britain's "torture policy".

The Metropolitan Police is investigating three allegations of torture concerning MI5 and MI6. Last night, the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, declined to ask the police to investigate five more cases involving British citizens imprisoned in Afghanistan.

The claims were made in a November 2009 report by Human Rights Watch, and were referred to the Attorney General by the Tory MP David Davis. Ministers have said that the UK neither practises nor condones torture or the mistreatment of prisoners.

But Reprieve has accused the Government of making "broad assertions" that its policy is legal while failing to address specific allegations. Evidence from 10 cases suggests the policy could have unlawfully endorsed complicity in torture, it claims. Gordon Brown has yet to fulfil a pledge made last year to release the latest version of the guidance.

Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith accused the Government of "playing for time". He said: "Advice given to agents cannot sensibly be deemed 'classified' as disclosing legal advice hardly betrays a national secret. Rather, depending on what the policy was, it exposes those who sanctioned the advice to immense embarrassment.

"Equally, it cannot take a year to come up with new advice – we could have written it for them in an afternoon. Agents in the field are still, apparently, required to rely on the 2004 policy."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the Prime Minister's "unprecedented commitment" to publish the new 2009 guidance was "the exception to the rule". He said: "Recognising the importance of this particular issue, the Prime Minister has made an unprecedented commitment to publish consolidated guidance in order to make plain the standards to which we hold ourselves."

Scotland Yard is currently investigating a claim that MI5 was complicit in the torture of the former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, who was held in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan.

Detectives are also looking into claims that MI6 was complicit in the torture of a non-Briton in a separate case. It was reported last week that the police are also investigating a third case involving Shaker Aamer, the last British resident still held at Guantanamo Bay.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee