Documents released detail involvement in ill-treatment of prisoners
Previously secret documents show a catalogue of "mishaps and failures" by the MoD in regard to its policy on extraordinary rendition, a group of MPs said today.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition (Appger) published a number of documents detailing the handing over of detainees to the US by British forces.
The documents show that the recent announcement by the Gibson Detainee Inquiry that it would not investigate detainee transfers "now looks unsustainable," the group stated.
Commitee chairman Andrew Tyrie MP said he had been seeking the documents for more than three years but that the MoD had refused to disclose them until forced to do so by the Information Tribunal last month.
Among the documents are the previously secret 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between Britain and the US, further extracts of a 2008 Detention Practices Review and statistical information on detainees captured in Afghanistan.
Mr Tyrie said the documents revealed "a catalogue of MoD mishaps and failures, including a failure to track detainees handed over to the US, a weakening of protections for those handed over and a failure to keep proper records.
"The Detainee Inquiry's position, that 'military detention operations should not be one of the key themes for the inquiry', now looks unsustainable.
"Without a comprehensive examination of rendition the drip-drip of allegations will continue.
"This is why it is essential that the Gibson Inquiry into rendition covers detainee transfers in theatre."
He said that the fact that the MoD had relied on US standards of treatment for detainees was of particular concern as practices such as waterboarding have been declared lawful by the US.
Specific provisions to enable Britain to demand the return of people handed over to the US were removed from the memorandum in 2008, he added.
The documents also showed that from March 2003-June 2004 there was no tracking of detainees handed over to the US and full records on detainee handovers in Iraq were not seen or analysed during MoD investigations.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "These are just the latest revelations to add to our concern that the UK has been negligent over prisoner welfare and potentially complicit in rendition.
"While the UK makes the claim that it did not physically hand over prisoners in its custody to be tortured, there is clear evidence of a host of ways that UK officials were involved in rendition and prisoner ill-treatment."
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