William Hague has written to the Prime Minister to ask what action he will take in response to the Joint Committee Report on allegations of British complicity in torture.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary stressed the Committee’s findings are “extremely serious”, and made clear, “We need to know whether the allegations of UK complicity contained in the report are being examined.”
He asked the Prime Minister whether he will refer any of the new allegations in the report to the Attorney General, who earlier this year launched a police investigation into allegations about the torture of Binyam Mohamed.
And he called on the Prime Minister to say whether the Attorney General is considering any additional cases of alleged UK complicity in torture.
Full text of letter from William Hague to Gordon Brown:
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to ask whether you plan to instruct the Attorney General to consider any of the allegations of UK complicity in torture which are contained in the report released today by the House of Lords and House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights. (HL Paper 152 HC 230 of 4th August 2009).
In your written statement to the House of Commons of 18th March on allegations of UK complicity in the torture of detainees overseas, you said that “if any cases of potential criminal wrongdoing come to light, the Government will refer them to the Attorney-General to consider whether there is a basis for inviting the police to conduct a criminal investigation.” (18 Mar 2009 : Column 55WS)
I understand that since March this year the Metropolitan police have been investigating the allegations about one such detainee, Mr Binyam Mohamed, at the behest of the Attorney General. (26 Mar 2009 : Column WS51).
I write to request that you clarify as a matter of urgency whether you intend to instruct the Attorney General to consider any additional allegations of UK complicity in the light of the Joint Committee report, which documents allegations of UK complicity in torture in respect of detainees held in Pakistan, Egypt, and Guantanamo Bay, and in the case of Uzbekistan, raises concerns about the receipt of information which may have been obtained through torture?
Can you confirm whether any of these allegations are already being examined by the Attorney General?
The Attorney General has declined in the past to clarify whether she is considering any additional cases, replying to my colleague Baroness Neville Jones that she “do[es] not propose to give a running commentary on consideration of the matter.” (7 May 2009 : Column WA139)
However does the public not have a right to know whether the Attorney General is considering any additional allegations? Is this clarity not important to reassure the public that these issues are being fully investigated in a wide-ranging fashion?
Therefore I hope that in response to this letter you will urgently clarify whether you intend to refer any of the allegations of complicity in torture contained in the Joint Committee report to the Attorney General, as well as how many such cases the Attorney General is currently considering.