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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
'Torture intelligence' criticised
Uzbek capital Tashkent
Ambassador Craig Murray is based in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent
The UK ambassador to Uzbekistan has criticised MI6 for using intelligence allegedly gained through torture, according to newspaper reports.

In a confidential internal document leaked to the Financial Times, Craig Murray said Uzbek officials abused prisoners to extract information.

The intelligence was used by MI6 after being passed on by the CIA, he alleges.

Mr Murray has been an outspoken critic of the regime's human rights record throughout his two years as ambassador.

The private Foreign Office memo reportedly shows Mr Murray's concerns about Britain's use of intelligence gained by such means.

The Foreign Office has responded saying the British government, including intelligence agencies, has never used torture to obtain information or incited others to do so.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Murray says "Torture dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe."

And he claims the Uzbeks exaggerate the activity of local militants and their links with al-Qaeda.

He reportedly says MI6 has a yen for highly-coloured material that exaggerates the threat and he concludes "we are selling our souls for dross".

Mr Murray has been a vocal critic of Uzbekistan's human rights record.

In his first speech upon taking the job he said: "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy, nor does it appear to be moving in the direction of democracy".

Country profile: Uzbekistan
01 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

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