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Monday, Nov 30, 2020

Foreign Office refuses to help investigation into Britain's role in US torture and kidnappings

Foreign Office refuses to help investigation into Britain's role in US torture and kidnappings

THE Foreign Office has allegedly refused to help Scottish police with an investigation into British complicity in US torture and extraordinary rendition, drawing criticism from human rights groups today.
Police Scotland have been investigating the potentially unlawful use of airports in CIA rendition flights since 2013, which saw suspects secretly detained and transferred to foreign interrogation sites where they were tortured.

It is believed that airports, including Glasgow’s Prestwick, have been used as refuelling stops for such flights, including the rendition of Saifull Paracha, a 73-year-old still being held at Guantanamo Bay.

This summer, SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf called on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to “formally make representations to the US government” to access the unredacted version of a US Senate report into CIA torture and rendition for the purposes of the investigation.

But Mr Yousaf told the Herald that his request had been refused by the Foreign Secretary in September, despite the dossier containing information “potentially vital” to the police investigation.

The report by the US Senate committee on intelligence, released in 2014, accused the CIA of torture in the years following September 11 2001.

However, only a redacted 525-page summary of the 6,700-page document has been published.

In a letter to the Foreign Office in July, Mr Yousaf said: “We have, in the past, sought confirmation that UK airports were not used for extraordinary rendition flights and that assurance was found to be inaccurate when the US government finally disclosed the use of Diego Garcia for one such flight.

“I am therefore inclined to seek the report itself, which should be a true and accurate picture, than to seek verbal assurances.”

The British government admitted in 2008 that two flights carrying detainees stopped at Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean.

Human rights group Reprieve said that the Foreign Office should be “ashamed” of its refusal to help Scotland Police with the ongoing investigation into torture complicity.

Director Maya Foa said: “Without obtaining this vital evidence from the US government, Police Scotland cannot hope to uncover the truth.

“The Scottish government must keep fighting for justice on behalf of those who were rendered: people like Saifullah Paracha.”

Tracy Doig, head of accountability at Freedom from Torture, accused Mr Raab of “an obstruction to truth and justice,” adding that it was “also typical behaviour of recent governments that have sought to block scrutiny and oversight of this dark chapter in our history.”

The Foreign Office refused to comment.
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