PM orders code on questioning abroad
The government yesterday bowed to growing pressure over allegations of Britain’s complicity in torture by promising to draw up and publish new guidelines for the security and intelligence agencies when they are involved in interrogating detainees abroad.
Announcing the unexpected move to MPs, Gordon Brown said he condemned torture “absolutely” but had asked the intelligence and security committee (ISC) to help draw up new guidelines “in order to have systems that are robust”.
In a separate move, the prime minister told MPs that compliance with the new guidelines would be monitored by intelligence services commissioner Sir Peter Gibson, a former appeal court judge, who will report annually.
Brown’s announcement, which follows a succession of revelations in the Guardian about the ill-treatment and torture of UK nationals and residents abroad, appeared to be a tacit admission that existing guidelines were open to abuse. It was also seen as an attempt to resist calls for an independent inquiry into growing evidence of British complicity in the interrogation of suspects held in Pakistan and Morocco.