'UK guilty of outsourcing torture', says David Davis

Former Shadow Home Secretary outlines how MI5 and Greater Manchester Police colluded in torture

UK secret services are guilty of 'the outsourcing of torture', according to striking claims made by David Davis MP yesterday. Under the protection of parliamentary privilege, which prevents Members of Parliament from prosecution for slander, the former Shadow Home Secretary outlined how MI5 and Greater Manchester Police colluded in torture and interrogation of suspected terrorist Rangzieb Ahmed by Pakistani intelligence agents.

Members of the Commons heard how, despite the existence of evidence meriting his arrest, British intelligence services allowed Ahmed to travel to Islamabad in 2006. They then wrote to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 'suggesting' that they arrest him. According to Davis, they did this in 'full knowledge of the normal methods [of torture] used by the ISI against terrorist suspects'. Following his detention, MI5 and Greater Manchester Police also drew up and submitted to the ISI a list of questions to be put to Ahmed. It is alleged that these questions were used during subsequent interrogations

Ahmed was 'viciously tortured by the ISI''. He was 'beaten with wooden staves . . . whipped with a 3ft length of tyre rubber nailed to a wooden handle, and...three fingernails were removed from his left hand.' After almost two weeks, he was visited by MI5 and MI6 officers. Their visits ceased after Ahmed described to them his treatment by the ISI, but he was later visited by an American intelligence officer.

Ahmed was deported to the UK 13 months later and convicted of being an Al-Qaida operative on evidence gathered during 2005 and 2006. An objection to the trial made by his lawyers, on the grounds that he had been tortured, was not upheld.

Davis also highlighted the contrast between the alleged cover-up by UK intelligence agencies of their involvement in torture, and the openness displayed by President Obama in publicising torture methods employed at Guatanamo Bay. He said, 'The Americans have made a clean breast of their complicity, whilst explicitly not prosecuting the junior officers who were acting under instruction. We have done the opposite.'

Davis' statement to the Commons adds to the controversy already surrounding Ahmed's case. Earlier this week he alleged that following his conviction he was visited in prison by MI5 and police officers who had offered money or a reduction in his sentence in exchange for the retraction of allegations of torture.