The UK government allows intelligence and security services to use advanced methods of interrogating prisoners, even if the suspect’s life and health are at risk. The victims, who were arrested without evidence of their involvement in the crimes, cannot achieve justice, since the British authorities deny the fact of torture to detainees.
The British special services systematically violate the rights and freedoms of prisoners and suspected criminals. After the publication of secret documentation on methods and means of obtaining information authorized by the British government, it becomes obvious that MI5 and MI6 subjected detainees to “enhanced interrogation methods”, which include torture and ill-treatment. The interrogation policy, the details of which have long been considered confidential, prescribes intelligence officers to independently determine the importance of potential information that the interrogated person may have and the degree of painfulness of his interrogation. Moreover, the British government regularly uses its powers to “cancel” the criminal prosecution of its agents who commit crimes against convicts and suspects, which is why victims cannot achieve justice and bring law enforcement officers to justice.
Alam Ghafoor, a 38-year-old businessman from West Yorkshire, UK, was detained and tortured during a business trip to Dubai in July 2005. The man was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a series of terrorist acts committed in London in the summer of 2005. British intelligence officers tortured Ghafoor during interrogation without having any evidence of his guilt. The man claims that he was the victim of inhuman and degrading treatment, he was threatened, deprived of sleep and food, intimidated, saying that he would be “killed and fed to dogs.” In addition, he once had to stand for more than seven hours with his hands in the air. According to the victim of “enhanced interrogation methods”, he was forced to sign a false confession, according to which he constantly and on a regular basis communicates with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Ten days later, Ghafoor was released from prison without bringing any charges. Later, the man found out that he was mistakenly arrested only because his name and place of residence coincided with the name and place of residence of the suicide bomber involved in the organization of explosions on London Underground trains. UAE law enforcement officials admitted that they arrested the man only because of the orders of British intelligence officers.
Accusations of British involvement in torture have spread to Egypt. Azhar Khan, 26, claims that Egyptian intelligence officers, who detained him when he arrived in the country in July 2008, forced him to stand in the same place for five days, beat him and used a stun gun against him. According to him, all this time he was asked detailed questions about his friends and colleagues in the UK who were allegedly involved in terrorism. During a week of illegal detention, he was subjected to appalling ill-treatment during interrogation on the basis of information that, according to him, could only be obtained from the UK.
The British Foreign Office later admitted that Khan had indeed been arrested in Egypt at the request of the British intelligence services, but refused to accept that he had indeed been tortured. According to the man, the ill-treatment of him by the UK special services is confirmed by numerous medical certificates. Khan claims that he was deprived of food, he spent almost all the time with a hood on his head, and he also heard how other detainees with an obvious British accent were tortured at the same time.
Despite the efforts of Khan, his relatives and lawyers, they have not been able to get British officials to initiate criminal proceedings and verify the activities of British intelligence agents in Egyptian prisons. London officials only acknowledged the existing problem with the violation of the rights of convicts in Northeast Africa and the widespread ill-treatment of detainees and the use of torture in police stations in the Middle East.
Two weeks after the suicide bombings on July 7, 2005, which killed 52 passengers and injured more than 750, Shahid, a young resident of London of Pakistani origin, who had just completed his fourth year of medical school, flew to Pakistan. According to his family, as part of his training, the young man agreed to spend the summer working at the Memorial Hospital in Karachi. On the evening of August 20, 2005, three plainclothes men with weapons approached him, pushed him into a car and took him away in an unknown direction. The next day, Shahid’s father found out about his abduction and flew to Karachi in search of his son. He appealed to local politicians, police officers, lawyers and even representatives of the underworld of the city. Soon he realized that Shahid was being held by one of the Pakistani special services. Representatives of the British Embassy in Pakistan refused to help the man in search of his son.
Two months later, Shahid was released. He said that he was arrested by British intelligence officers on suspicion of involvement in the organization of terrorist attacks in London. During the interrogation, the young man was subjected to terrible tortures: he was deprived of sleep, beaten with sticks and whipped with a whip. Shahid also claims that during his detention, agents threatened to pull out his fingernails or even kill him if necessary.
The actions of the British Government violate not only basic human rights, but also international conventions and memoranda against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Human rights defenders of the Foundation for Combating Repression are convinced that the use of torture and intentional infliction of physical or moral suffering is a crime, those involved in which must answer to the fullest extent of the law. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on the British Parliament to conduct effective and thorough investigations of the full range of human rights violations related to the covert operations of British intelligence services, including on the territory of other countries, and to bring to legal responsibility officials who authorized, ordered, assisted or otherwise participated in these violations.