UK intelligence agents will not face trial for alleged torture involvement

[JURIST] The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) [official websites] in the UK said [joint statement] Thursday that there was not enough evidence to try British intelligence agents for alleged complicity in the torture of two detainees. Both cases involve individuals detained by the US with the knowledge of British agents. Neither of the detainees has alleged that British agents were directly involved in the mistreatment. The statement reported that there was not sufficient evidence to legally establish complicity to torture. Binyam Mohamed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], a British citizen and one of the alleged victims in this case, claimed in 2009 that the British government was aware of and involved in his mistreatment [JURIST report] by US officials. The DPP and MPS stressed that their decision applies only to the two cases at hand, and other allegations of complicity by British agents in the torture of detainees will continue to be investigated:

[These cases] involve specific allegations about specific conduct. The question that has therefore been addressed in these cases is whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a criminal conviction against an identified individual in relation to these specific matters. The investigations have not examined wider allegations of ill-treatment, which, it is anticipated, will be examined by the Detainee Inquiry, chaired by Sir Peter Gibson. Nor have the investigations covered other specific allegations of ill-treatment beyond those raised in [these cases]. Should further evidence in relation to the matters raised...become available as a result of the Detainee Inquiry, the MPS would consider re-opening these operations.
Last week, the MPS decided to immediately begin the investigation of two similar cases in Libya, and will investigate other allegations "in due course."

Last August, 10 human rights groups said they would boycott the UK government inquiry [JURIST report] into allegations of torture complicity after receiving information on the protocol and transparency of the inquiry. They argued the inquiry would not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. In March former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said in a BBC documentary that the UK gave "tacit approval" for torture [JURIST report] of terror suspects. In July 2010 UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] said that he will create a panel to investigate claims [JURIST report] that British government agents were complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects held overseas, after Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the UK government to investigate torture allegations and reaffirm its support for human rights.

 

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