MPs demand inquiry into torture of Briton overseas

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Indy Politics

British officials have been accused of colluding in the torture of UK nationals by Pakistani security services.

MPs demanded an urgent inquiry into the claims by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, which oversees MI5 and MI6. The allegations were fiercely denied last night by the security services.

The calls for an investigation came from the Labour MP John McDonnell and the Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie after three British citizens claimed to have been tortured. A medical student from Mr McDonnell's constituency of Hayes and Harlington says he was held for two months in Pakistan, beaten and threatened with sleep deprivation during questioning in offices opposite the British deputy high commission in Karachi. He said he was questioned by British officials before being released.

Tariq Mahmood, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, said he was imprisoned and tortured before being released without charge and flown to the UK. He alleges MI5 and the US intelligence services were aware of the abuse. Tahir Shah, an author from London, claims to have been held in a "fully-equipped torture chamber" during 16 days of questioning over the July 7 suicide attacks.

Mr McDonnell said of his constituent's claims: "I believe there is now sufficient evidence ... to demonstrate British officials outsourcing the torture of British nationals to the Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The Home Office said on behalf of the security services that they did "not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone" of any such use of torture.