UK launches torture investigation

David
Cameron has said a “judge-led” inquiry will look at claims that UK security
services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects.

The
prime minister promised compensation for victims if it was found foreign agents
had committed abuses with UK counterparts colluding.

Mr
Cameron told MPs that to ignore the claims would risk operatives’ reputation
“being tarnished”.

On-going
criminal and civil cases must end before the inquiry starts, he said.

The
findings of the “fully independent” investigation, chaired by former
Appeal Court judge Sir Peter Gibson, would be published by the end of the year,
the prime minister added.

The
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have long called for an investigation into
the claims by Ethiopian-born UK resident Binyam Mohamed that UK security
services were aware of his torture by foreign interrogators, who were allegedly
fed questions via the CIA.

Mr
Cameron told MPs: “For the past few years the reputation of our security
services has been overshadowed by allegations about their involvement in the
treatment of detainees held by other countries.

“Some
of those detainees allege they were mistreated by those countries. Other
allegations have also been made about the UK’s involvement in the rendition of
detainees in the aftermath of 9/11.

“These
allegations are not proven but today we do face a totally unacceptable
situation. Our services are paralysed by paperwork as they try to defend themselves
in lengthy court cases with uncertain rules.

“Our
reputation as a country that believes in human rights, fairness and the rule of
law – indeed for much of what the services exist to protect – risks being
tarnished.”

The
panel conducting the inquiry would have access to all relevant papers, the prime
minister promised, with some proceedings held in public.

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