ON - Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based organisation of human rights on Thursday claimed that officials in Pakistani Intelligence services have confirmed that their agents were encouraged to torture prisoners on behalf of Britain.
Two senior members of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have privately told the researchers of the international campaign group that their colleagues acted as 'torturers by proxy. According to the whistleblowers, the two countrys intelligence services co-operated so closely and Britains interest in the information yielded was so strong - that the interagency relationship 'actively encouraged mistreatment.
The senior spies damning testimony is due to be published later this year in a report by the respected Human Rights Watch. The HRW reports revelations further undermine British ministers repeated insistence that the UK would never use brutal methods to obtain information. And they come amid growing pressure on Foreign Secretary David Miliband to admit Britain has been carrying out a secret torture-by-proxy policy.
For the past three years Pakistan-based HRW investigators have amassed evidence that Britain and America colluded with the Pakistani torture policy. Drawing on interviews with victims and low-level personnel, the HRW investigators conclusions were confirmed by two serving commanders of the ISI. Lawyers acting for British Muslims of Pakistani origin Rangzieb Ahmed and Salahuddin Amin are expected to use the HRW report to bolster appeals against their clients convictions.
HRWs Asia director Brad Adams said that Karachi was 'at the very least encouraged to torture detainees because, when any information extracted was passed to British agents, it was treated as ' business as usual. The HRW revelations amount to more evidence that Britain, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, developed a policy of collusion with regimes less squeamish about torture. At least 15 terror suspects have made allegations with varying degrees of credibility that British Intelligence Agencies MI5 and MI6 connived in their torture.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives Member Parliament David Davis dramatically used Parliamentary privilege to accuse the authorities of deliberately colluding with the Pakistanis.
Mr Davis said a 'more obvious case of outsourcing of torture I cannot imagine was that of Rochdale-born Ahmed, 33. He was allowed to leave Britain despite police having enough evidence to convict him for plotting terror, Mr Davis said. Yet instead of arresting him, they let him go to Pakistan and tipped off the ISI, suggesting they arrest Ahmed, and knowing full well he would be tortured for answers, the MP alleged. The answers were to questions supplied by Greater Manchester Police and MI5.
Ahmed returned to Britain with three fingernails missing and was jailed for life at Manchester Crown Court. His solicitor, Tayab Ali of London firm ITN, is now trying to force the Government to reveal the truth about his illegal detention in Pakistan. In another case, Binyam Mohamed returned to Britain from Guantanamo Bay alleging he had his genitals slashed in a Moroccan prison while being questioned on behalf of British spies.
The British Government has been fighting to prevent High Court judges publishing documents that support Binyams claims. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Foreign Secretary have been forced to deny a cover up, while the police and security services have denied any wrongdoing.
The HRW has demanded the UK government should order an independent judicial inquiry into mounting evidence that its security services and law enforcement agencies were complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects in Pakistan.