Britain’s first terror convict has accused MI5 of trying to bribe him to drop torture charges against them.
Rangzieb Ahmed, who was born in Rochdale, Yorkshire, was found guilty in October 2008 of directing terrorist operations and of having links with al Qaida.
Prior to his conviction, he was detained in Pakistan, where he claims to have been tortured.
Mr Ahmed also alleges that MI5 and Greater Manchester Police colluded with his tormentors.
Mr Ahmed says that, in order to obtain answers to questions drawn up by the British secret services, agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence subjected him to severe torture, including the removal of three of his fingernails.
Mr Ahmed, who is pursuing an appeal as well as a case against the government for collusion in torture, alleged that he was approached by British intelligence officers in his Manchester prison cell.
He claimed that he was visited by an MI5 officer and a police officer. They offered him a reduced sentence or cash in exchange for withdrawing his allegations of torture.
Mr Ahmed’s lawyer, Tayab Ali of London law firm Irvine Thanvi Natas, described the incident as “grossly inappropriate.”
Mr Ali said: “I’ve written to the Crown Prosecution Service asking them to disclose the identity of the officers who visited my client so that we can establish what happened. We’ve also made a request for any audio recording of that conversation.
“If what Mr Ahmed says is true, the officers would be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.”
Although the Home Office generally refrains from commenting on individual cases, a spokesman insisted that “security service officers act within the law.”
He added that security and intelligence agencies do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or inhumane or degrading treatment.
Amidst rising concerns over Britain’s involvement in torture of detainees abroad, Stop the War Coalition president Tony Benn expressed his dismay. Mr Benn said: “Secret services would take any action to protect their secrets and this is a big public issue.”
Head of the Manchester-based North West Counter-Terrorism Unit operated by Greater Manchester Police, Chief Superintendent Tony Porter, debunked Mr Ahmed’s claims, saying that the court had found no evidence of Britain’s complicity in mistreatment.
He added: “We are confident in the behaviour of our officers and we refute any allegations of impropriety.”
Copyright Morning Star