New revelations from High Court show far deeper British involvement in the torture of Binyam Mohamed and possible perjury by British Secret Agents

July 31, 2009

Image of Binyam Mohammed

British judges today revealed new details of the role of British Secret Services in the illegal detention and torture of Binyam Mohamed.

In a revised judgment, they revealed that:

(1) British Secret Services made a far greater contribution to Binyam’s interrogation than they originally admitted, feeding questions to his torturers for over 12 months, despite knowing he was held in ‘covert’ detention (ie in a CIA ‘Black Site’)

Reprieve’s director Clive Stafford Smith said:

“The British agents clearly committed perjury when telling the court that they did not know of Binyam’s illegal detention at a CIA Black Site, and that all efforts to question Binyam ended in February 2003. Their contribution was still going on 15 months later – even when Binyam was in the Dark Prison in Afghanistan, undergoing more torture there. The Metropolitan police will clearly want to take this documentary proof of perjury into account when they conduct their current criminal investigation.”

(2) Witness B visited Morocco on three occasions while Binyam was held there. This is a strange coincidence if, as he has claimed, he did not know where Binyam was. Binyam has always said that he had the impression the British and Americans were lurking in the background during his interrogation in Morocco.

Reprieve’s director Clive Stafford Smith said:

“Informant A actually met Binyam in the secret prison in Morocco in September 2002. He then clearly spoke with British intelligence. Since Witness B went to Morocco in November 2002, it seems most likely that he was debriefing Informant A, and then facilitating the man’s return to Britain. It is now obvious that the British authorities were not telling the truth when they denied knowing that Binyam was in Morocco. Again the question for the police and the public must be, how far up the political ladder did this knowledge go?”

3) We now know that reports on Binyam’s treatment in Karachi were studied by desk officers.

Reprieve’s director Clive Stafford Smith said:

“It is now clear that on May 17, 2002, the British agent [Witness B] knew that Binyam had been tortured prior to their interrogation session, and that Witness B did nothing about this. It is also clear from the judges’ ruling that senior UK intelligence personnel also knew about the torture. One question that must be asked is how high up in the British government did this sordid truth travel?”

The extra information was taken from new secret documents belatedly sent to the court by the UK Government and Intelligence services. The full revised judgment is attached.


For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office 020 7427 1099/ 07931592674.

Notes for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’