Clarke backs in­quiry into UK ren­di­tion role

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Kate Mccann SE­NIOR PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

KEN­NETH CLARKE, the for­mer Jus­tice Sec­re­tary, has ad­mit­ted he re­grets halt­ing a judge-led in­quiry into the UK’S role in ren­di­tion and tor­ture of ter­ror sus­pects, in­creas­ing pres­sure on Theresa May to launch a fresh re­view.

Writ­ing in The Fi­nan­cial Times, the Con­ser­va­tive MP said a new in­quiry was the only way to know how in­volved Britain was in the mis­treat­ment, which took place in the early 2000s.

His re­marks add weight to calls for the Prime Min­is­ter to launch a new re­view af­ter the In­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee pub­lished two damn­ing re­ports ear­lier this year, ac­cus­ing Britain’s se­cu­rity ser­vices of “in­ex­cus­able” treat­ment of de­tainees.

The re­ports by the pow­er­ful Par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee doc­u­ment more than one hun­dred in­ci­dents of mis­treat­ment which UK ex­perts were aware of but did noth­ing to pre­vent. In an­other 31 cases Britain helped pay for ren­di­tion flights of sus­pects in cus­tody, or as­sisted in the plan­ning of them.

In an ar­ti­cle about the ev­i­dence, Mr Clarke, who was jus­tice sec­re­tary in the coali­tion govern­ment un­der David Cameron, said can­celling the Gib­son in­quiry in 2012 was a move “which I now re­gret”.

At the time, Mr Clarke stopped the in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter ap­point­ing Sir Peter Gib­son to re­view claims of British in­volve­ment be­cause of on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

But in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished to­day, he says: “A full, in­de­pen­dent, judge-led in­quiry is the only way that the full truth of Britain’s in­volve­ment in ex­tra­or­di­nary ren­di­tion and tor­ture will be re­vealed.” Mr Clarke also crit­i­cised Mrs May di­rectly over her de­ci­sion to block the In­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee from in­ter­view­ing UK in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers in 2013, when she was Home Sec­re­tary.

The com­mit­tee had been granted per­mis­sion to com­plete the Gib­son in­quiry but was pre­vented from speak­ing to of­fi­cers who work­ing di­rectly with US in­tel­li­gence ser­vices and would have had knowl­edge of the in­ci­dents set out in its most re­cent re­port.

The chair­man of the com­mit­tee, Do­minic Grieve, also told The Fi­nan­cial Times that Mrs May’s de­ci­sion was “re­gret­table”.

In May this year the Prime Min­is­ter is­sued an un­prece­dented apol­ogy to Ab­del Hakim Bel­haj and his wife, Fa­tima Boud­char over the UK’S role in their ren­di­tion and tor­ture.

Sir Alan Dun­can, the For­eign Of­fice min­is­ter, told MPS ear­lier this week that the Govern­ment would “give care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion to the calls for an­other judge-led in­quiry”.

A se­cu­rity of­fi­cial told The FT: “We were sim­ply not pre­pared for the work we be­came in­volved in fol­low­ing 9/11.”

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