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Britain to probe MI5 role in detainee torture.

Summary: British police have been asked to investigate claims that MI5 colluded in the torture of former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, the country's top law official said Thursday.

Attorney

British police have been asked to investigate claims that MI5 colluded in the torture of former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, the country's top law official said Thursday.

Attorney General Patricia Scotland said in a statement she had studied evidence, some of it classified, and decided there were grounds for police to investigate allegations made by Mohamed, who said he suffered severe torture such as cuts on his penis and psychological damage. "Any decision on whether any person should be charged with a criminal offence can only be taken following the police investigation on the basis of an independent assessment of the evidence and the public interest," she said.

Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen with British residency, disappeared into the controversial U.S. 'special rendition' network on April 10, 2002, when he was arrested at Karachi Airport in Pakistan while seeking to return to Britain with a false passport.

He spent nearly seven years in custody in Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan and at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, from where he was released last month and returned to Britain a free man. All charges against him were dropped.

Mohamed said British intelligence agents were aware he was being tortured and abused by Pakistani authorities during two months of detention but did nothing to stop it.

Mohamed alleges that the torture he suffered in Morocco included sexual mutilation, having chemicals poured onto his wounds, and being subjected to mind-altering drugs and sensory deprivation.

Britain has denied any role in torture or of colluding with other authorities that might have tortured Mohamed.

The announcement was welcomed by the charity Reprieve, which represents Mohamed. "The attorney general absolutely did the right thing today. It is critical that we get to the bottom of what was done to Binyam Mohamed and the role of any British official in his torture," said Reprieve's Zachary Katznelson.

But he added: "For this to be a proper inquiry the police have to be given access to all the information and that includes any secret information."

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Mar 25, 2009
Words:373
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