Whitehall colluded in torture of British suspects, says agent

British terrorist suspects who claim they were tortured in Pakistan were then interrogated by MI5 agents under rules drawn up in Whitehall, a court has been told.

The Home Office has already launched an inquiry into claims that UK intelligence services colluded in the brutal treatment of British citizens and residents in Pakistan.

Last night it emerged that an MI5 officer told the High Court an official policy existed over the questioning of suspects by Pakistani authorities. It was agreed by MI5 lawyers and government figures, he said.

The disclosure came as the officer, known only as Witness B, was cross-examined over the case of Binyam Mohamed, the British resident held in Guantanamo Bay. Mr Mohamed claims he was hung from leather straps, beaten and threatened with a gun by Pakistani officers before being questioned by MI5. Other UK-based detainees have alleged UK officers turned a blind eye to their treatment in Pakistan.

Witness B admitted telling Mr Mohamed that "he would get more lenient treatment if he cooperated".

Reports in The Guardian say that interrogation policy "was directed at a high level within Whitehall and has been further developed since Mohamed's detention in Pakistan".

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