A potent alliance of leading human rights NGOs has called for a full judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in rendition a week ahead of the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war.
Liberty, Amnesty International, Freedom from Torture, and Reprieve are all signatories to a letter calling for a full investigation of British collusion in the practice of rendition – shorthand for kidnap and torture – of terror suspects.
They blasted the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier in June not to pursue charges in the case of the families of two Libyan dissidents who were kidnapped and tortured, allegedly with British complicity.
The quartet also added that “there is compelling evidence of UK complicity in many other cases of rendition and torture elsewhere.”
They also warned that “even if the CPS reverses its decision in this instance, an independent inquiry is essential to establish the broader pattern and ensure that the intelligence services are held to account.”
They claim that a full inquiry cannot be delivered by Parliament’s cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee, which would be “structurally unable” to carry out the “independent investigation promised by the government and required under international law.”
The NGOs say that “Neither the survivors and their families – nor the wider public – must be made to wait any longer to see the truth established and justice done.”
Their call comes only a week before the much-delayed Chilcot report into the Iraq War is published and only days after it was claimed that Iraq-era Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was being kept out of the courts at a cost of millions to the taxpayer.
Freedom of Information (FoI) figures seen by the Guardian Monday appear to show that upwards of £600,000 (about US$790,000) has been spent keeping the likes of Jack Straw out of court and jail by fighting against a civil case brought by victims of rendition.
Former MI6 head Mark Allen also appears to have been protected in the same way, with overall figures appearing to indicate that the total outlay could be as high as £10 million.