Britain’s anti-terrorism reviewer urges inquiry into complicity with US torture

The UK government’s independent reviewer of terror laws March 1 called for a judicial inquiry into British complicity in US “rendition” and torture. The reviewer, Lord Carlile of Berriew, specifically cited the case of Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who alleges that he was tortured with the knowledge of MI5 while held in US custody in Pakistan in 2002. Labour Party Deputy Leader Harriet Harman was non-committal, saying only that, “We’ll have to listen to what he [Berriew] says, but at the moment, we’ve got an investigation by the Attorney General.” Asked if she would rule out a judicial inquiry, Harman responded, “We’ll just have to see what lies ahead on that.”

British media reported Sunday that UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak has told British ministers that MI5 may have been complicit in torture committed while detainees including Mohamed were in US custody. Mohamed was returned to the UK last week following seven years of detention, including five at Guantánamo Bay, where he was held on charges of conspiring to commit terrorism. Those charges were dismissed in October; however Mohamed remained in custody while US authorities considered filing new charges. (Jurist, March 2)

See our last post on detainment scandal and the UK.