MI5 and MI6 admit fears over 15 new torture cases

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The Independent Online

Human rights campaigners pressed for an independent judicial inquiry yesterday after the British security services revealed there might be up to 15 more cases in which they could be complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects.

MI5 and MI6 carried out a review of files after the launch of an unprecedented police investigation into claims by the former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed that British intelligence services knew he was being tortured.

The review has uncovered 15 cases in which the intelligence services carried out interrogations of suspects in US custody. Most of the cases relate to a period between 2002 and 2004 at American facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

Shami Chakrabarti, of the human rights organisation Liberty, said that the Government could no longer avoid an independent judicial inquiry headed by a senior judge with powers to call ministers at the highest level.

"This development is enormously significant and full credit to the security services for attempting to come clean about this," she said. "An inquiry must now be launched, asking who knew what and what sanctions were given to the security services for their actions."

If an inquiry led to criminal charges, these could include aiding and abetting torture, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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