Category: Torture

Report prepared by the United States Congress on CIA involvement in torture.

Lord Sheikh to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the report prepared by the United States Congress on CIA involvement in torture.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My Lords, the Senate committee’s account of the treatment of some detainees by the CIA is troubling. After 9/11, things happened that were clearly wrong. In Britain, we have made clear our determination to address allegations of UK complicity in the alleged mistreatment of detainees by others overseas. Her Majesty’s Government stand firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

Lord Sheikh (Con): My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply. Will our Government undertake an independent, judge-led inquiry to examine possible British complicity in the programme of torture, secret detention and rendition? Will our Government also provide all suitable help and assistance to UK citizens and residents who have been detained to enable them to seek justice and remedies? I point out that Shaker Aamer is still in detention and needs help to be released. He has apparently been very badly treated.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, the Government set up the Gibson inquiry in July 2010. It was asked to produce an interim report when police investigations into a number of potential criminal charges were instituted in 2012. The Gibson committee’s interim report raised 27 questions for further investigation, which have been taken up by the Intelligence and Security Committee, which has now been working for a year with some additional staff on that inquiry. When that inquiry is complete, it will be for the next Government to decide whether a further judicial inquiry is necessary. On the question of Shaker Aamer, the Government are engaged at the highest levels for his release as a matter of urgency.

United States: Interrogation of Detainees

Lord Sheikh:

    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the methods of interrogation of detainees revealed in the documents declassified by the Government of the United States.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, we welcome the decision to disclose this material. We also welcome President Obama’s Executive Order of 22 January restricting methods of interrogation to those outlined in the US army field manual. The UK does not employ any of the techniques set out in these memos during interrogation. The Foreign Secretary has made clear that we consider waterboarding to be torture.

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. The Obama Administration have been very honest and have told the world about the interrogation techniques. Will the Minister be equally honest and tell your Lordships’ House whether we were aware that these techniques were being used and whether we used the information obtained by them in the United Kingdom?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, as I indicated in my original Answer, these techniques are not used by any British personnel during interrogation. The information obtained by the United States is taken in good faith. The noble Lord will appreciate that it is not possible for us alone to conduct the necessary defensive strategy against terrorism. We need co-operation with other states, and that co-operation is based on the information which they supply. We would not knowingly use any information that involved techniques of interrogation which we were not prepared to use.