Reprieve has today written to the Intelligence and Security Committee alerting them to the fact that they were seriously misled by their own service.

August 7, 2009

Reprieve has today written to the Intelligence and Security Committee, the body in charge of policing the British Secret Services, alerting them to the fact that they were seriously misled by their own Service about crimes committed under their watch.

Last week, British judges revealed that the British Secret Services fed questions to the CIA in the full knowledge that the Agency was systematically using torture in interrogations; a clear violation of international law.

It has now emerged that Secret Agents attempted to cover these crimes by neglecting to inform the Intelligence and Security Committee – to whom they are accountable – of any of the damning evidence subsequently extracted by the Court.

By comparing the judges’ revelations with the ISC Renditions Report 2007, Reprieve has drawn the Committee’s attention to the following misinformation:

1) The Secret Services falsely informed the ISC that they were ‘unaware’ that Binyam Mohamed was suffering torture in a secret prison from 2003. In fact, they knew Binyam was being held in CIA ‘covert detention’, and the judges make clear that the British knew as early as May 2002 that Binyam was being tortured.

2) The Secret Services falsely informed the ISC that all contact with Binyam Mohamed ended in 2002. In fact, the Secret Service continued to feed questions and/or receive information from the CIA on BM until at least March 2004. No questions were asked about BM’s welfare despite clear knowledge that he was in a secret prison and almost certainly being tortured.

3) The Joint Committee on Human Rights and international lawyers have clearly identified this as unlawful state complicity in torture, a serious crime of which the ISC was not informed.

It is now clear that the Intelligence and Security Committee, charged with policing Secret Service activities, was very seriously misled by its own Service on this and other matters. The conclusions in its report on Rendition are therefore erroneous and must be re-evaluated from scratch.

Reprieve’s director Clive Stafford Smith said: “British agents seem to have committed perjury when telling the court that all efforts to question Binyam ended in February 2003 – and they also misled the Intelligence and Security Committee, to whom they are supposedly accountable. In fact, the shameful co-operation with Binyam’s torturers was still going on 15 months later –when Binyam had left the Moroccan torture chamber and arrived in the Dark Prison in Afghanistan.

“And why did the British agents not tell the ISC that their man was visiting Morocco at the time Binyam was being tortured there? We can surmise that the agent wasn’t on a Club Med vacation, so he needs to explain what he was doing.”

For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk 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.’

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