Ministers call for torture inquiry

Parliament’s Joint Human Rights Committee has called for an independent inquiry into allegations that the British Government was complicit in acts of torturing terror suspects.

The cross-party group of MPs and peers examined details of several cases where it was alleged individuals detained as terror suspects were mistreated by Britain’s allies abroad.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: “The Government’s failure to answer growing questions about torture and rendition are damaging the good name of this country.”

He added: “It is particularly disappointing that both the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary refused to give oral evidence to the committee.

“We agree with the report’s recommendation that the Intelligence and Security Committee should be reformed.”

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “The committee is absolutely right to call on the Government to allow a full, independent inquiry into all aspects of alleged complicity by the UK in torture, ‘rendition’, illegal detention and other human rights abuses.

“Amnesty has been calling for an inquiry for months and the sense we are getting is that the Government is still trying to brush this issue under the carpet.

A Government spokesman said there was no need to hold an independent inquiry and said there were no new allegations in the committee’s report.

He said: “The Government unreservedly condemns the use of torture as a matter of fundamental principle and works hard with its international partners to eradicate this abhorrent practice worldwide.”

Among the cases referred to the committee was that of Salahuddin Amin, a UK-born terrorist convicted in 2007 of planning to attack numerous targets in the UK, including the Bluewater shopping centre. Amin alleged that he was tortured during his detention in Pakistan between 2004 and 2005 and that British intelligence officials interviewed him several times in between periods of torture.