Police Scotland renditions investigation must secure access to Senate torture report

May 27, 2014

Legal charity Reprieve has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that police investigating the use of Scottish airports by CIA ‘torture flights’ have access to a major US Senate report on the spy agency’s secret ‘rendition’ programme.

Last year, Scotland’s chief legal officer asked Police Scotland to investigate the use of Scottish airports by CIA aircraft involved in the agency’s programme of ‘renditions’ – in which suspects are kidnapped and flown to third countries in order to be tortured.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, made the request after the publication of a new report produced by academics at Kingston University and the University of Kent, in conjunction with Reprieve, which set out evidence showing the use of a number of UK airports by rendition flights – including Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick.

However, Reprieve has warned the Scottish Government that the Police Scotland investigation must have access to a new report by the US Senate’s intelligence committee, if it is to be sure that it has “left no stone unturned.”  The Senate recently voted to declassify the report, and it is expected to be published later this summer.  However, in a letter to First Minister Alex Salmond and Mr Mulholland, Reprieve has asked that they take steps to ensure it is provided to police investigators without delay – with steps taken if necessary to protect material that may be national security-sensitive.

In the letter, Kat Craig, legal director at Reprieve says that while the charity “welcomes the fact that this investigation is taking place,” police need to have “access to any and all relevant information” if they are to “get to the bottom of whether Scotland was involved – knowingly or otherwise – in the serious human rights abuses of the rendition programme.”  She warns that “without access to the Senate Committee’s report, it is hard to see how we will be able to be sure that Police Scotland’s investigation will have left no stone unturned.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 7739 188 097 / clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk

2. The letter to the First Minister and Lord Advocate can be found here.