MPs and charities seek torture inquiry

Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects must be investigated at a public inquiry headed by a judge, MPs and human rights groups said today.

In a letter to The Independent, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition and four human rights groups make the case for a full independent investigation into growing allegations of the secret services involvement in the abuse of detainees.

The call follows a series of damaging cases brought against the UK Government in which agents from MI5 and MI6 have been accused of complicity in torture. It includes a number of high-profile court cases – most notably that of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed – that claimed MI5 officers were complicit in the mistreatment of detainees by foreign agents, including those of the US and Pakistan.

The letter calls for an independent enquiry that will examine how British "territory and airspace" is used as well as the precise involvement of British intelligence agencies and the armed forces in cases involving the treatment of detainees abroad.

It asks for evidence to be chaired by an independent judge, with as much evidence as possible made public to achieve "maximum possible disclosure".

The letter is likely to intensify pressure on Gordon Brown who is facing growing criticism over his refusal to publish new guidelines for British intelligence officers when interrogating prisoners in foreign custody.

Mr Brown had originally told a committee that new guidelines would be formulated and come before a Commons debate last Thursday. But that decision was subsequently postponed after intervention by the intelligence and security committee, meaning that any decision on revised guidelines are unlikely to be published until after the general election. It was further heightened by a Foreign Office report last week that said Britain had to continue to work with foreign security agencies against terrorism even if they do not share UK standards on human rights.

Led by Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP for Chichester, the call for a public enquiry was backed by the Liberal Democrats and human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Liberty and Reprieve. Mr Tyrie said: "Every time a new revelation emerges, it is damaging for public confidence in the Security Services and for the reputation of the UK.

He added: "We must be sure we have got to the truth to be able to move on. A short, judge-led inquiry would be quicker, cheaper and far more effective in restoring the public's trust than allowing this corrosive state of affairs to continue. It is a mistake to imagine that this issue will go away on its own."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent