Home Secretary William Hague was accused today of trying to join hands with torturers while keeping his own clean.
The criticism followed Mr Hague's announcement of a new "justice and human rights partnerships" initiative which allows Britain to share intelligence relating to terrorist activity in countries with suspect human rights records, having received "assurances" torture would not be used.
In a keynote speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London, Mr Hague claimed the partnerships would include assistance to overseas security services and investigators to enable them to build cases based on evidence rather than confession, and improve their compliance with the law and human rights.
In many cases, he said, they were able to obtain "credible assurances from our foreign partners."
Where this was not the case there were two options, either disengage or "choose to share our intelligence in a carefully controlled way while developing a more comprehensive approach to human rights adherence."
The government has previously been forced to settle out of court with former Guantanamo detainees over allegations that the British security services colluded in their torture in countries including Pakistan and Morocco.
Last year it paid £2.2 million in compensation to Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi over allegations Britain was involved in his and his family's rendition to Tripoli where he suffered torture at the hands of the Gadaffi regime.
Reprieve Legal Director Cori Crider said: "From Afghanistan to Libya, the UK has handed over detainees or colluded in renditions, knowing that the result will be that people face torture.
"The government has sought to spare its blushes by obtaining 'assurances,' but these have not been worth the paper they were printed on.
"William Hague is trying to find a way to join hands with the torturer while keeping his own hands clean - it just won't work."
Amnesty International UK head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth said Britain and some of its allies "have got poor form on marrying human rights and security."
"Hague needs to be clear that we are not going to see the UK government falling back on memorandums of understandings with countries who have appalling human rights records."
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