Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 10:26 UK

MP claims UK 'outsourced torture'

Rangzieb Ahmed
Rangzieb Ahmed was jailed for life last year

Former shadow home secretary David Davis says he has seen "compelling" evidence that British intelligence services "outsourced torture".

Mr Davis cited Rangzieb Ahmed, from Rochdale, who was jailed for life in the UK for being an al-Qaeda planner.

He claims the intelligence services allowed Ahmed to go to Pakistan where they alerted the authorities who arrested him and tortured him.

The government has insisted the UK has never "condoned the use of torture".

Mr Davis first made his allegations on Tuesday in the House of Commons.

Using the legal protection afforded to MPs, he said there was a chain of evidence of complicity in torture and passive rendition.

'Absolutely certain'

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday, Mr Davis reiterated his claims.

He said he could not reveal his sources, but had seen "a whole load of corroborative evidence" to support his claim regarding Ahmed.

"I'm afraid to say that having gone through it all, cross-checked it, looked at it, it is compelling to me," he said.

"I am absolutely certain of the case."

Mr Davis said that although British police and the intelligence services had enough surveillance material to charge Ahmed, they still allowed him to go to Pakistan.

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Once there, British intelligence suggested to the Pakistani authorities he should be arrested.

A list of questions to be put to Ahmed was drawn up by the security services and Manchester police, said Mr Davis.

Ahmed has said he was whipped with tyre rubber, beaten with staves and had three fingernails pulled out.

Mr Davis accused the government of misusing arguments of national security to cover up complicity in torture.

He raised the case of Binyam Mohamed, a former UK resident who alleges he was tortured by US agents in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan and that UK agencies were complicit in the practice.

In February, two British judges claimed they had been prevented from publishing details of Mr Mohamed's treatment by the government because the US had threatened to stop sharing intelligence with the UK if they did.

David Davis: "Our handling of the subject of torture has been completely wrong"

"The government has fought tooth and nail and used the law ruthlessly to prevent things coming out in the public domain," Mr Davis said.

"The two judges, very senior judges, one a law lord, dealing with the Binyam Mohamed case have been stopped from putting a summary, a very vetted summary, of the complicity of the US and UK governments in torture into the public domain.

"If you are using secrecy to either prevent political embarrassment or to cover up a crime, rather than protecting national security, then that secrecy is being misused."

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said the US did not threaten to withdraw co-operation over the case and the government was opposed to the use of torture.

Judicial inquiry

Mr Davis said he had used parliamentary privilege to make his claims because he was afraid of "tripping over the Official Secrets Act".

"Nothing that was said was not in the public interest to be in the public domain, but I also wanted to make very sure that I didn't suddenly find someone being prosecuted for doing something that was actually the right thing," he added.

The former shadow home secretary is now calling for a judicial inquiry into at least 15 cases where torture of terrorist suspects has been alleged.

Replying to Mr Davis, Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis said he could not comment in detail on Ahmed's case for legal reasons.



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