Legal action charity Reprieve challenged British investors on Tuesday over their involvement in a firm implicated in the CIA's illegal rendition and torture programme.
Investors in IT and security giant Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which include the state-funded Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Barclays and UK Financial Investments - which manages the government's investment in Lloyds - are being called on to confirm whether investing in the firm is in line with their codes of ethics.
The challenge follows revelations that CSC played a central role in rendering detainees between a number of secret prisons and torture sites.
Court documents which came to light last year showed that CSC organised rendition flights on behalf of the CIA to carry prisoners between a number of locations, including Guantanamo Bay and notorious "black sites" in North Africa, South East Asia and Eastern Europe.
Reprieve said it wrote to CSC over a month ago, asking that it "pledge never to be involved in torture in the future," but the firm refused to make any such promise.
Reprieve's legal director Cori Crider said: "The question for these companies is whether investing in a firm which assisted in kidnap and state-sponsored torture can be considered ethical. All we have asked of CSC is a pledge never to be involved in such serious abuses again. It has failed to engage with our request, but we now hope that its investors will prove more responsive."
When contacted by the Star, UK Financial Initiatives said: "We expect our investee companies to act ethically and sensibly on sustainability issues.
"We expect each investee company to set out clearly which of the ethical and environmental standards set by governmental, advisory and regulatory bodies it has committed to adhere to and report against and to explain why it has chosen these principles.
"We will meet with each investee company to discuss sustainability issues at least annually. Where they are not in line with this policy we will take this up with them."
A spokeswoman for Lloyds said: "Our policy is clear, we will not support companies whose ongoing business activities are illegal in the UK and breach the requirements of international conventions as ratified by the UK government.
"We are not aware of evidence that CSC is currently committed to activities inconsistent with our policy."
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