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Pakistan: Torture

Volume 715: debated on Monday 14 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the Human Rights Watch report Cruel Britannia: British complicity in the torture and ill treatment of terror suspects regarding Pakistan. [HL287]

The Human Rights Watch Report draws together allegations made by five UK citizens of Pakistani origin, namely Rangzieb Ahmed, Salahuddin Amin, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Rashid Rauf and an anonymous individual “ZZ”. In each of the cases there were allegations that they were tortured and ill-treated by the Pakistani security agencies while detained in Pakistan. They also allege that British security and intelligence officers were complicit in this alleged mistreatment.

These allegations are not new and we have responded to them in Parliament. We cannot comment in detail on the individual cases for various reasons, including that some are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

However, it should be noted that English courts have already considered and rejected claims that alleged UK complicity in ill-treatment amounted to abuse of process in the criminal cases of two of these individuals—Rangzieb Ahmed and Salahuddin Amin. The judge in Mr Ahmed's case stated, “I specifically reject the allegations that the British authorities were outsourcing torture”. In Mr Amin's case the judge examined his allegations and found that there was no evidence to suggest that the UK authorities were complicit in the unlawful detention or ill-treatment of Amin in Pakistan. These judgments are publicly available. The Court of Appeal upheld these findings of the trial judges in both cases, pending a final appeal by Rangzieb Ahmed.

The UK does not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.