8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Passion Islam I June 2010
The new UK coalition government is committed to setting up a “judge- led inquiry” into allegations of British security services complicity in torture overseas, the Foreign Secretary confirmed.
William Hague said details of the probe were being worked on by the power-sharing parties and would be published “pretty soon” but declined to say whether it would be a judicial inquiry.
Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats called for such an investigation of a number of recent claims before the election - including those by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed. He said he was tortured in Pakistan while held by the CIA, with the knowledge of the British. Hague told the BBC, “We will be setting out in the not-too-distant future what we are going to do about the allegations that have been made
UK gov’’t to set up inquiry into torture complicity claims
about complicity in torture. “We have said
again in the coalition agreement that we want a judge-led inquiry.
“So will there be an inquiry of some form? Yes, both parties in the coalition said they wanted that. Now we are working
on what form that should take. Proposals on this will follow pretty soon.” In fact there was no explicit mention of the issue in the coalition agreement document, beyond a commitment that, “We will never condone the use of torture.” The UK’s human rights watchdog, campaigners and two influential House of Commons committees all called for an independent inquiry.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown insisted in February that the work of the security services “does not undermine the principles and values that are the best guarantee of our future security. We condemn torture without reservation. We do not torture, and we do not ask others to do so on our behalf. We are clear that officials must not be complicit in mistreatment of detainees.” - KUNA
Britain’s Defense Secretary says no change in Afghanistan policy
Britain has no immediate plans to speed up the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Liam Fox was quoted as saying Fox told the Times of London newspaper the government hoped to speed up the pull-out, saying Britain was “not in Afghanistan for the sake of the education policy in a broken 13th-century country.”
In remarks published
in Arabic by Bahrain’s Al Wasat daily, he said his visit to Afghanistan this
week was not a prelude to a troop withdrawal but meant to help assess the success of its troops. “(The remarks to the Times) were neither a slip of the tongue nor a change in policy but confirmed to our
Fox added: “And then we leave, we are not a colonial power, we are part of an alliance trying to ensure Afghans have a government to protect them and a leadership to achieve their goals as an
troops’ families that we are present in Afghanistan to protect our interest and keep away danger from our country,” he said.
During their visit to Kabul, Fox and other ministers of Britain’s new coalition government said they would not set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, where some 285 British soldiers have died since 2001.
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government formed after Britain’s May 6 election says its top foreign policy priority is the strategy for Afghanistan, where the country has about 9,500 troops battling insurgents.
The United States is sending more troops to Afghanistan to seize insurgent-held areas before a planned withdrawal starting in July 2010. (Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Maria Golovnina)
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