In the Commons yesterday David Davis MP raised the alleged case of a man who had been tortured with the knowledge of Britain's intelligence services.
Fifteen British citizens and residents claim to have been tortured by foreign agencies with knowledge of British state: "In the last year, there have been at least 15 cases of British citizens or British residents claiming to be tortured by foreign intelligence agencies with the knowledge, complicity and, in some cases, presence of British intelligence officers. One case—that of Binyam Mohammed—has been referred to the police by the Attorney-General, which implies that there is at least a prima facie case to answer. The most salient others include Moazzamm Begg, Tariq Mahmoud, Salahuddin Amin and Rashid Rauf, all in Pakistan, Jamil Rahman in Bangladesh, Alam Ghafoor in United Arab Emirates, and Azhar Khan and others in Egypt."
Rangzieb Ahmed is a terrorist: "I should say that the individual whose case I am going to describe is not someone for whom I have any natural sympathy. He is a convicted—indeed, self-confessed—terrorist. So what I am talking about today is just as much about defending our own civilised standards as it is about deploring what was done to this man in the name of defending our country."
British authorities allowed Ahmed to leave country and suggested to Pakistan that he be arrested: "In 2005-06, Rangzieb Ahmed was a suspected terrorist who was kept under surveillance for about a year before leaving the country to go first to Dubai and on a subsequent trip to Pakistan. During that time, evidence was collected against him, on the basis of which he was later convicted. Let me repeat that point, as it is very important to my subsequent argument—during that time, evidence was collected, on the basis of which he was subsequently convicted. Despite the authorities having that evidence, he was—astonishingly—not arrested but instead allowed to leave the country. To understand how odd this decision was, we should remember that this was only a year after the tragedy of 7/7, after which agencies were criticised for allowing terrorist suspects to leave the country to go to Pakistan. Since they knew he was leaving, since they knew where he was going, and since they had more than enough evidence to arrest him, allowing him to leave was clearly deliberate. That the authorities knew his itinerary is demonstrated by the fact that he was kept under surveillance when he was in Dubai. He later went on to Pakistan, where the Pakistani authorities were warned of his arrival by the British Government. The British intelligence agencies wrote to their opposite numbers in Pakistan—the members of the directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence—suggesting that they arrest him. I use the word “suggest” rather than “request” or “recommend” because of the peculiar language of the ISI’s communication No doubt the Minister can confirm that for himself by asking to see the record."
Suggesting arrest to Pakistan is equivalent to suggesting torture: "We also know that the intelligence officer who wrote to the Pakistanis did so in full knowledge of the normal methods used by the ISI against terrorist suspects that it holds. That is unsurprising, as it is common public knowledge in Pakistan. The officer would therefore be aware that “suggesting” arrest was equivalent to “suggesting” torture."
Ahmed WAS tortured by authorities in Pakistan: "Rangzieb Ahmed was viciously tortured by the ISI. He says, among other things, that he was beaten with wooden staves the size of cricket stumps and whipped with a 3 ft length of tyre rubber nailed to a wooden handle, and that three fingernails were removed from his left hand. There is a dispute between Ahmed and British intelligence officers about exactly when his fingernails were removed, but an independent pathologist employed by the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it happened during the period when he was in Pakistani custody."
Britain must not let its standards decline in fighting terror: "Let me conclude by saying that our handling of the subject of torture has, in my view, been completely wrong. The Americans have made a clean breast of their complicity, while explicitly not prosecuting the junior officers who were acting under instruction at a time of enormous duress and perceived threat after 9/11. We have done the opposite. As things stand, we are awaiting a police investigation that will presumably end in the prosecution of the front-line officers involved. At the same time, the Government are fighting tooth and nail to use state secrecy to cover up crimes and political embarrassments to protect those who are probably the real villains in the piece—those who approved these policies in the first place. The battle against terrorism is not just a fight for life; it is a battle of ideas and ideals. It is a battle between good and evil, between civilisation and barbarism. In that fight, we should never allow our standards to drop to those of our enemies. We cannot defend our civilisation by giving up the values of that civilisation. I hope the Minister will today help me in ensuring that we find out what has gone wrong so we can return to defending those values once again."
Read his full statement here.