UK panel will not complete investigation into torture allegations

[JURIST] The chairman of the UKDetainee Inquiry [official website] said Wednesday that his panel will not complete their investigation [statement] into torture allegations against British intelligence agents. In his statement, Judge Peter Gibson said that the Secretary of State for Justice chose to conclude the investigation "in view of further Metropolitan Police investigations." The Inquiry faced criticism from a variety of human rights groups for its lack of transparency. Last August, 10 human rights groups said they would boycott the investigation [JURIST report], arguing that it did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. Gibson stressed that although their investigation was not completed, they have conducted research which will be useful for future investigations:

We recognise that it is not practical for the Inquiry to continue for an indefinite period to wait for the conclusion of the police investigations. The Inquiry has, however, already done a large amount of preliminary work, including the collation of many documents from Government departments and the Security and Intelligence Agencies. We welcome therefore the opportunity to bring together the work we have done to date. The Inquiry will therefore produce a report of our work, highlighting themes which might be subject to further examination.
Gibson said that it was important to ensure that the Inquiry's work did not go to waste. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) [official website] will continue to investigate allegations of torture.

Last week, the MPS announced that there was not enough evidence to try British intelligence agents [JURIST report] for alleged complicity in the torture of two detainees. They indicated that they could reopen the cases if new information surfaced through the Detainee Inquiry. In the joint statement [text] of the MPS and the Director of Public Prosecutions [official website], they also announced the commencement of two new investigations of torture allegations in Libya. Last 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] announced the creation of the Detainee Inquiry [JURIST report], 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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