UK: Diplomatic assurances no guarantee that UK is not deporting people to face torture

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

"The UK Government must do its utmost to prevent any repeat of the recent London bombings, and to bring those responsible to justice. But going soft on torture is not the answer to terrorism. We must remain steadfast in our opposition to this vile practice.

"Britain should not turn a blind eye to torture, wherever it occurs. The assurances of known torturers - many of whom deny the use of torture even when it is widely documented - are not worth the paper they are written on. We have seen no indication of any monitoring to ensure that these promises are honoured.

"Only last week, Amnesty released a report on two men who were tortured by agents from Jordan – the only country with which the UK has agreed such an assurance."

Amnesty International's report detailed two Yemeni men who allege that they were tortured for four days by members of the Jordanian intelligence services. Alleged methods of torture included heavy beatings, including on the soles of the feet with sticks (a torture known as falaqa) while suspended upside down with hands and feet tied.

One man reports being threatened with sexual abuse and electro-shock torture and being made to sit on a bottle so that it would penetrate his anus.

Manfred Novak, the UN's special rapporteur on torture has also reportedly warned Tony Blair that plans to deport Islamic extremists and foreign terror suspects could fall foul of international human rights law because they face torture in their home countries.

Mr Novak reportedly said that assurances from countries such as Jordan and Algeria that they would not harm the suspects they received were worthless.

He said that deporting people to countries where they are subjected to the risk of torture is absolutely prohibited under international law, and that diplomatic assurances should not be used if there is a substantial risk of torture.

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