Over to you, Mr Torturer
That master of dramatic political interventions David Davis has been at it again. This time he’s been standing up in the House of Commons denouncing the way that British intelligence officials have allegedly sent British nationals for “outsourced torture”.
Yes – it’s that story, the one that just won’t go away. The key nexus seems to be the UK-MI5-Pakistan-the ISI. Specifically, as the Guardian lays out in great detail today, the way that people like Rangzieb Ahmed were, so the allegations goes, quite calculatedly allowed to travel from the UK to Pakistan and fall into the hands of the Pakistan secret service (the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence agency) and be tortured for information later used by MI5, not least as “evidence” in semi-secret trials back in Britain.
A tangled web indeed and, as with Binyam Mohamed’s not dissimilar case before this one, credit has to go to David Davis for acting as a thorn in the side of a government determined to keep this under wraps and even – according to claims earlier this week – having MI5 officers going into a British prison and trying to bribe Rangzieb Ahmed into withdrawing his allegations against the UK secret services.
Since when has MI5 been in the business of perverting the course of British justice?
So Davis is undoubtedly right to denounce this behaviour as “frankly monstrous” if true, and right to call for an independent investigation into UK complicity in “war on terror”-related torture, rendition and secret detention (though I think he’s overdoing it when he says "The Americans have made a clean breast of their complicity”. Er, when was that, exactly?)
If you want to add to Mr Davis’ already sonorous voice, please click here to call on the UK government to allow an independent investigation into this whole murky business - the Binyam Mohamed,case, Rangzieb Ahmed and other cases like Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna.
Meanwhile, just what is it like to fall into the hands (or, maybe more accurately, to be delivered into the hands) of Pakistan’s ISI? Here’s what one man (Dr Imran Munir) who was “disappeared” into ISI custody, told Amnesty:
“The guards … told me that there was only one [way] to get out from the hands of ISI … to co-operate with them and give them the statements they want, otherwise they will not release me and they might hand […] me over to the US custody at Guantanamo Bay or they might torture me further or they might kill me but will not release me. First I didn’t believe them but when I spoke to the other three inmates that [were] opposite to my cell and when I heard their stories that they were apprehended by ISI and were never charged and never taken to court, then I believed them and realised that the only way to get out from ISI custody is to co-operate with them. Out of those three inmates there was a businessman Masood Janjua of Rawalpindi.”
Masood Janjua will have been held in “ghost detention” by the ISI (or those working with the agency) for four years at the end of July. If he hasn’t been found by then Amnesty will be highlighting his case again in the lead up to International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August.
How, I wonder, do the bosses of MI5 and their political masters feel about their dealings with the ISI right now? Maybe they should tell us.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.