Thursday, June 30 2016

MI5 accused of trying to bribe terror suspect into dropping torture allegations

 The Guardian reports that Rangzieb Ahmed, a man from Manchester whose fingernails were ripped out during detention in Pakistan allegedly with the knowledge of UK security service personnel, is to appeal against his conviction for terrorism offences.

The MI5 has previously been accused of attempting to bribe Rangzieb Ahmed into withdrawing his torture complaints.

From the Guardian:

'The case of Rangzieb Ahmed is understood to hinge on the contents of a secret ruling that was issued after he complained that MI5 was complicit in his torture. That judgment is being kept secret at the request of the Crown Prosecution Service and it is not currently possible to report on the grounds for Ahmed's appeal.

'The CPS is applying for much, if not all, of the appeal next week to be heard in camera. The Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Times, the Independent, the BBC and BSkyB will this week attempt to persuade the court to agree to hear Ahmed's appeal in open court, rather than in secret, and to make its judgment open to the public.

'In a legal submission, the media groups argue that "the court must seek to distinguish between information the disclosure of which would be harmful … and material which may cause embarrassment or arouse criticism, but which would not damage any security or intelligence interest."'

The report continues:

'Giving evidence during the legal argument, Ahmed described how he was beaten, whipped, deprived of sleep and had three fingernails ripped out of his left hand while being questioned by ISI officers. The trial judge ruled that his evidence about this had been "given in a straightforward and entirely credible way". But the UK government's response to the allegations of complicity in his torture was heard while the court was sitting in camera.

'In a statement to the Commons last year, former shadow home secretary David Davis said the UK authorities had been aware of Ahmed's travel itinerary, and had warned Pakistan's government. "The British intelligence agencies wrote to their opposite numbers in Pakistan … suggesting that they arrest him," said Davis. "The intelligence officer who wrote to the Pakistanis did so in full knowledge of the normal methods used by the ISI against terrorist suspects that it holds. That is unsurprising, as it is common public knowledge in Pakistan. The officer would therefore be aware that 'suggesting' arrest was equivalent to 'suggesting' torture."

'Davis told MPs that he could not disclose his sources, but said government ministers could confirm its truth by consulting the record of the in-camera hearings before Ahmed's trial.

'"I cannot imagine a more obvious case of the outsourcing of torture," Davis added. "Ahmed should have been arrested by the UK in 2006, but he was not. The authorities knew that he intended to travel to Pakistan, so they should have prevented that; instead, they suggested that the ISI arrest him. They knew that he would be tortured, and they arranged to construct a list of questions and supply it to the ISI. The authorities know full well that this story is an evidential showcase for the policy of complicity in torture."'

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