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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 12:36 GMT
Bishop condemns Western leaders
The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill
The Bishop was shocked by talk of using evidence gained under torture
A senior Church of England Bishop has railed against Western governments 'putting themselves outside the law' in the war against terror.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, used his New Year message to condemn governments for their treatment of terror suspects.

He said "extra-territorial prison camps" and controversy surrounding the possible use of torture was "shocking".

He added people thought such things only happened under extremist regimes.

We used to tell our children such things happened under the Nazis and Soviets because they had abandoned the Christian principles their nations were founded on but that it couldn't happen here
Bishop Jonathan

The Bishop said it was shocking the Western Alliance sent suspects clandestinely to places such as Syria which governments routinely condemn for the abuse of detainees.

He added: "Is it true a neighbour with a grudge could accuse us of having a link with a terror cell and we could be dragged out of bed without warning, taken abroad, left to rot for months without being told the evidence against us and be interrogated until we confess?"

The Bishop said he understood that the attacks of 9/11 had called for emergency powers and that people have to trust their government.

But he warned that even though organisations such as al-Qaeda were dangerous there was an even greater threat.

"We might become the thing we hate - killing the innocent, alienating people of good will, imposing our will wrongly on other nations."

He said a record number of people had been to Lichfield Cathedral over Christmas and that may be because people sensed the world was becoming cut loose from its moorings in Christian values.

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