New torture claims: Reprieve response to leaked Red Cross report on CIA torture and alleged MI5 collusion in the torture of Azhar Khan

March 16, 2009

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Reprieve applauds the International Committee of the Red Cross’s assessment that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives “constituted torture”.

“This report confirms what our clients have been telling us for years,” said Reprieve Executive Director Clare Algar. The CIA ran illegal prisons where practices like waterboarding were routine. The question is how we stop this abuse from happening in the future. Although Obama has promised to close CIA sites, this is simply not enough. Thousands more prisoners are held beyond the rule of law at military prisons like Bagram and proxy prisons worldwide. These prisoners remain at serious risk of abuse.”

“We call on President Barack Obama to re-unite these prisoners with the rule of law and to put a decisive end US-sponsored torture.”


British citizen Azhar Khan claims he was tortured in Egypt with the co-operation of MI5, according to media reports today.

Reprieve investigator Clara Gutteridge said: “After similar cases in Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay, Azhar Khan’s story indicates that the virus of British involvement in torture also spread to Egypt. It is sad to say that we have further evidence of UK involvement with abusive regimes around the world including Kenya, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Enough is enough. The British government must come clean and reveal exactly what happened to the victims, where they are now, and what is being done to make things right.”


Reprieve lawyers are available for comment today. Please contact Katherine O’Shea on +44 20 74271099 or email

Reprieve is a legal action charity, founded by Clive Stafford Smith in 1999. Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. We investigate, litigate and educate. Working on the frontline, we provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves, promoting the rule of law around the world, and securing each person’s right to a fair trial. In doing so, we save lives.

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