[JURIST] The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) [official website] on Saturday called for an independent investigation [press release] into allegations that the government had knowledge of and was complicit in the torture of Binyam Mohamed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and 24 other British residents and citizens while they were held abroad as terror suspects. The EHRC's statement cites a letter from the organization's chair, Trevor Phillips [official profile], sent to Secretary of State Jack Straw [parliamentary profile] calling for the government to address concerns that the case of Mohamed was not an isolated instance. The EHRC called for an open and independent review, saying:
The Government has stated unequivocally that the allegations are unsubstantiated and that it does not condone or support torture carried out by foreign agencies. However, the Commission does not believe the Government's response to these allegations is sufficient and that not enough has been done to reassure the Commission and the public that these allegations are unfounded.
The EHRC's appeal coincides with the recent Court of Appeals disclosure of evidence [JURIST report] that Mohamed received "deliberate ill-treatment" by the US.
The former attorney general for England and Wales Lord Peter Goldsmith [JURIST news archive] earlier this month called for an investigation [JURIST report] into whether British intelligence agencies were complicit in the torture of terror suspects abroad. Days earlier, MI5 [official website] Director General Jonathan Evans [official profile] had denied [JURIST report] accusations that MI5 had collaborated with the US over the alleged torture of Mohammed in response to criticisms that the organization did not respect human rights, that it misled parliament, and that it supported a culture of suppression.