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Cameron urged to honour 2010 torture inquiry pledge

Human rights groups yesterday urged David Cameron to honour his 2010 pledge to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into allegations of British complicity in the US torture and rendition programme.

In a letter sent to Downing Street, the organisations argue that the publication of a damning report by the Senate select committee on intelligence earlier this month has highlighted not only the horrors of the CIA’s torture programme, but also “the UK’s failure as a country to put our own house in order.”

In December 2013 the government reneged on its pledge of an independent, judge-led inquiry and announced that the task would instead be passed to the Parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC).

The NGOs have previously said that they were “deeply disappointed” by this decision, as the ISC “has neither the powers nor the independence necessary to get to the truth.”

Executive director of legal action charity Reprieve Clare Algar said: “The Senate’s report on CIA torture has exposed the horrors of the programme. Yet we have still not had a clear answer on the involvement of the UK government in this shameful episode. That is why we need a fully independent inquiry, with the powers it needs to get to the truth.

“Sadly, the proposed ISC inquiry — as the Prime Minister once said himself — is not up to the job. Four years ago, the government promised an independent, judge-led inquiry; one year ago, it U-turned on that promise. We are urging the Prime Minister to think again, and honour his original promise.”

The letter is signed by the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International UK, Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Liberty, Redress, Reprieve and Rights Watch UK.


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