Govt publishes interrogation guidelines

By staff

The government is to publish a set of guidelines for interrogators, military personnel and intelligence officers when they question terrorist suspects.

The statement revealing the clarified guidelines indicates the government is trying to get on the front foot over the issue, with headlines surrounding the treatment of Binyam Mohamed appearing in the press everyday.

But opposition parties were unimpressed with the move. Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: “Gordon Brown has failed to set up the independent judicial inquiry needed to answer these most serious claims.

“His proposal to publish the government’s policy on torture falls far short of what is really needed.”

The intelligence and security committee reopened its investigation into rendition on the back of Mr Mohamed’s case, saying it raised questions of “policy and procedure” among Britain’s intelligence services.

When the committee first looked into Mr Mohamed’s case it found MI5 and MI6 had nothing to do with the rendition programme, but that conclusion looks increasingly tenuous as further details are released on a regular basis.

Mr Mohamed – an Ethiopian with UK residency – says MI5 assisted his interrogators with information in Morocco, Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay.

In a rare public statement, committee chairman Kim Howells, said that while the committee did not look into individual cases, this situation had far-reaching policy implications.

“In this instance we considered that this new evidence had a far wider significance that went beyond an individual case, and that it raised questions about the policy and procedures that our security and intelligence agencies follow,” he said.

“As such it was clearly a matter for the intelligence and security committee and we therefore considered that a further detailed investigation was essential.
“As a result we have taken further, in depth, evidence from the intelligence and security agencies, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

The committee’s findings have now been delivered to the prime minister.
Mr Mohamed’s claims have been referred to the attorney general.