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Human rights groups renew call for torture inquiry

HUMAN rights group members gathered outside Downing Street today to renew their call for an independent judge-led inquiry into Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition.

Representatives of Amnesty International, Freedom From Torture, Liberty and Reprieve delivered a 27,000-signature petition to Theresa May demanding she restore her predecessor David Cameron’s broken promise to hold an inquiry into British complicity in the use of torture by the US.



In a letter to the Prime Minister, the groups said that “a judge-led inquiry remains the only way to draw a line under the UK’s regrettable involvement in the rendition and torture of people during the US-led ‘war on terror’ and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

The latest calls for an inquiry into the British security services’ knowledge of and involvement in torture and rendition follow two excoriating reports by Parliament’s intelligence & security committee (ISC).

The members said they had been forced to draw a line under the inquiry because of the government’s refusal to supply key witnesses and evidence to the committee.

Amnesty International director Kate Allen said: “A curtain has been lifted to reveal some of the grisly reality of UK officials’ involvement in torture, but now we need to see a proper inquiry into it.”

But she told the Star that the ISC remit had been “very much controlled. They are appointed by the prime minister. They don’t have the power to subpoena witnesses, they only get to see evidence and witnesses that the prime minister approves of, so it’s not independent.”

Ms Allen added: “We can have no confidence that [British involvement in torture] won’t happen again until we understand exactly what did take place.”

Liberty campaign manager Sam Grant said: “Eight years after it was promised, we are, shamefully, still waiting for the judge-led inquiry into UK involvement in torture and rendition.

“A proper independent investigation with full access to witnesses is the only way to the bottom of our country’s part in the unforgivable mistreatment of people around the world and to make sure it never happens again.”

Freedom From Torture chief executive Sonya Sceats said: “Britain needs to stand up against torture, not be complicit. The Prime Minister must act to ensure this can never happen again.”



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