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Category: 2009
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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Embargoed, 00:01am Sunday 9 August 2009   Andrew Tyrie MP comments on the publication of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Human Rights Annual Report 2008.  The Report addresses rendition, allegations of UK complicity in torture and transfers of detainees.   “The Foreign Affairs Select Committee is mistaken to suggest that an independent judicial inquiry into allegations of UK complicity in torture should await a conclusion to ‘current court cases’.  Neither the investigation by the police into the Binyam Mohamed case nor the other civil actions brought should stand in the way of getting to the bottom of this.”   “The Joint Committee on Human Rights, Lord Carlile, the Government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and experts in this field have all concluded that an inquiry is now essential.  I agree with them.  It is the only way to give the public confidence that we have got to the bottom of all of this, to draw a line under it and to move on.”   “The Report rightly criticises the Government’s lack of transparency when it comes to dealing with rendition.  It is essential that the Government now accepts the Committee’s recommendations about Diego Garcia.  It should belatedly ensure that comprehensive information on the renditions to Afghanistan of two detainees captured by UK Forces, and those through Diego Garcia, is made available to the UK Government and to the public.”   “The Committee’s lack of faith in US statements on the renditions to Bagram and widespread reports of abuse there make getting to the truth all the more crucial.  As the Committee highlights, the basis of trust in US assurances has been undermined.  It is time for the UK to take responsibility for its obligations in this area.  That means ensuring that detainees transferred to other countries are properly treated, as this Report recommends.  It means publishing historical guidance given to intelligence officers about the interviewing of detainees overseas.  And it also means putting in place procedures to ensure that the UK cannot be involved in extraordinary renditions in the future.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Tuesday 28 July 2009   Andrew Tyrie MP comments on the Legal Action launched on behalf of Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, believed to have been one of the two detainees rendered through the British island of Diego Garcia in 2002.   “It is two years since I first started asking questions about Diego Garcia in Parliament.  In their replies the Government assured me that Diego Garcia had not been used in the rendition programme.  They were then forced to make a statement flatly contradicting this.  Even now we are being short-changed on the facts.”   “So I am delighted that Reprieve has been able to deduce from those questions the probable identity of one of the people rendered through Diego Garcia.  I have persistently asked the Government to provide comprehensive information and to investigate possible crimes in relation to these flights.  It has failed to do so.  In response to me the Foreign Office said that ‘despite enquiry, [they] have not been able to establish further details that would be essential for purposes of further investigation’.  The clear implication is that the United States is withholding information about these two flights from the UK Government.”   “The litigation announced today will contribute to the growing amount of information on rendition and British involvement in it.  But the drip-drip of revelations about UK involvement in renditions is hugely damaging.”   “I’ve been calling for a judge-led inquiry for some time.  Lord Carlile, the Government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Cameron and Nick Clegg are all demanding one.  It is now the only way to give the public confidence that we have got to the bottom of all of this, to draw a line under it and to move on.”   Ends.

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Detainees captured by British Forces and rendered from Iraq to Afghanistan by the US were held at the notorious Bagram detention facility, the Defence Secretary has confirmed to the APPG.   He also stated that British officials were aware both prior to the renditions, of the US’ intention to render the two individuals, and after the renditions, that the two individuals had been rendered to Afghanistan.  Ministers provided inaccurate and misleading answers to Parliamentary questions on the treatment of detainees captured by UK Forces and passed to the US, for a period of almost five years.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The Defence Secretary’s confirmation that the two detainees handed over to the US by UK Forces, and rendered to Afghanistan, were held at Bagram Air Base raises deep concerns about their possible mistreatment.”   “Coming so soon after new reports of abuse at Bagram and in the wake of inaccurate US assurances on rendition, further promises on this issue are inadequate.  The Foreign Affairs Committee has concluded that US assurances that it does not use torture cannot be relied upon.  It is high time that Britain took responsibility for its obligations and investigated the treatment of these detainees for itself.”   “In March 2004 UK officials knew that the US was planning the renditions.  In June 2004 they knew that the renditions had been carried out.  Yet in September 2004, I was told that everyone captured by the UK and transferred to US forces remained in Iraq.  Ministers continued to provide similarly inaccurate information on this issue to Parliament until the Defence Secretary’s Statement earlier this year.  This is not good enough.”   “We need to bring closure to this issue, and that means disclosure.  The Government refuses properly to investigate credible allegations about further British involvement in extraordinary rendition.  Only a judge-led inquiry can give the public confidence that we have got to the truth on British involvement in rendition, learned our lessons and toughened up UK law and procedures to prevent involvement in such renditions in the future.”

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Police to investigate Security Service involvement in the case of Binyam Mohamed.  Andrew Tyrie MP responds to the Attorney General’s statement today, confirming that she has referred the allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing in relation to Binyam Mohamed, to the police.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “I welcome the Attorney General’s decision to refer these allegations to the police.  This is long overdue.  It was likely, once the High Court ruled that the UK had ‘facilitated’ the incommunicado interrogation of Binyam Mohamed and that its involvement ‘was far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing’, in August last year.”   “This police investigation will look only into the case of Binyam Mohamed, not the many other allegations and the wider issue of British involvement in rendition.  Nor does the Prime Minister’s recent call for the Intelligence and Security Committee to reopen its examination into rendition go far enough in addressing these wider concerns.  The ISC does not have the mandate to examine all the issues surrounding extraordinary rendition.”   “The Binyam Mohamed case has brought to public attention just one of a series of specific and serious allegations on rendition that need to be investigated.  We need a judge-led inquiry, as Lord Carlile, the government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has concluded.  Only a judge-led inquiry can enable us to draw a line under all of this, and give the public confidence that we will finally get to the truth on rendition.”   “The experience of the last few years makes a full inquiry essential: since I began investigating rendition I have made a number of specific allegations, on Diego Garcia, Binyam Mohamed, and detainee handovers by UK Forces.  On each of these, the Government provided assurances that there was nothing to worry about.  And on each of these, Ministers have been forced to come to the House to correct those inaccurate assurances.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Wednesday 18 March 2009   Andrew Tyrie MP comments on the Prime Minister’s Statement on Detainees, in which he announced that he has asked the Intelligence and Security Committee to “consider any new developments and relevant information, since their 2005 Report on Detention and their 2007 Report on Rendition”.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement is inadequate.  We need a judge-led inquiry.  He is isolated in his refusal to allow this.  Lord Carlile, the government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has concluded that a judge-led inquiry is necessary.  I agree.”   “Since I began investigating rendition I have made a number of specific allegations, on Diego Garcia, Binyam Mohamed, and detainee handovers by UK Forces.  On each of these, the Government provided assurances that there was nothing to worry about.  And on each of these, Ministers have been forced to come to the House to correct those inaccurate assurances.”   “In its Report into Rendition the ISC found ‘no evidence that the UK Agencies were complicit in any “Extraordinary Rendition” operations’.  We now know this not to be the case.  On the contrary, the UK ‘facilitated’ the interrogation of Binyam Mohamed, as successive judgments have made clear.”   “In August 2008 I urged the Intelligence and Security Committee to reopen its inquiry into Rendition.  The High Court had concluded in the case of Binyam Mohamed that ‘the ISC Report could not have been made in such terms if the 42 documents had been made available to it’.  I am pleased that it has now done so, but it does not have the mandate to examine all the issues surrounding extraordinary rendition.”   “We need to get to the truth on rendition, to enable us to draw a line under all of this and move on.  Only a judge-led inquiry can give the public confidence that we have got to the bottom of all of this.  Only by doing so can we restore confidence not least among those whose support we most need to bear down on terrorism.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Wednesday 4 February 2009   The High Court ruled today that in the face of threats over future intelligence cooperation from the United States Government, it could not publish details of the torture of British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was rendered to Morocco, Afghanistan, and then to Guantanamo Bay, where he remains.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “There is much that needs to be digested in this extraordinary judgment.”   “I am deeply concerned that the UK Government appears so easily to have rolled over in the face of apparent US pressure.”   “I would also be extremely concerned if President Obama’s Administration were to persist with its predecessor’s constant attempts to prevent the truth coming out about extraordinary rendition.”   “I will be writing to the Foreign Secretary to establish whether the Obama Administration (as the judgment suggests at paragraph 78) renewed its predecessor’s pressure on the UK Government to withhold these paragraphs.”   Ends.

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Thursday 5 February 2009   Andrew Tyrie MP writes to the Intelligence and Security Committee to ask it to reopen its inquiry into rendition, following the High Court’s judgment in the case of British resident Binyam Mohamed and the Foreign Secretary’s Statement earlier today   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “It is clear from the High Court’s ruling in this case that the Intelligence and Security Committee was misled about the involvement of the UK Security Service in the mistreatment of Binyam Mohamed.”   “I urge the ISC to reopen its inquiry into rendition and examine the 42 documents and the redacted passages of yesterday’s judgment, as a matter of urgency.”   “I asked them as early as August 2008 to reopen this investigation.  I have not yet received a reply.  The case is all the more compelling in the light of this new information.  Indeed the High Court itself appears to be expecting such a re-examination: ‘We also have little doubt that the ISC, in the light of the information from these proceedings, will conduct a further investigation into the illegal incommunicado detention of BM, his treatment in April and May 2002 and the role of the SyS in relation to it’. ”   “The ISC found ‘no evidence that the UK Agencies were complicit in any “Extraordinary Rendition” operations’.  We now know this not to be the case.  On the contrary, the UK ‘facilitated’ the interrogation of Binyam Mohamed, as successive judgments have made clear.”   “Furthermore, the High Court has ruled that ‘the ISC Report could not have been made in such terms if the 42 documents had been made available to it’.”

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All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition House of Commons     Press release: Immediate, Thursday 22 January 2009   Andrew Tyrie comments on President Barack Obama’s closure of CIA secret detention facilities, and the outlawing of ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques such as ‘waterboarding’.   Andrew Tyrie MP said: “President Obama’s closure of CIA ‘black sites’ and the outlawing of interrogation techniques that constitute torture is a watershed in the campaign against extraordinary rendition, and I strongly welcome it.”   “I hope that he will now go one step further, and ban extraordinary rendition – that is kidnapping people, and taking them to countries where they may be tortured.  Rendition makes us less secure, not more.  President Obama himself recognised this in his inauguration speech yesterday.  He said: ‘we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals’.”   “We also need to look back, and establish the truth on the US rendition programme and UK involvement in it.  It is in everyone’s interests that the truth comes to light.  That is why I have filed Freedom of Information requests with the CIA, FBI, and other US Government Departments.  I had already filed requests under UK Freedom of Information legislation for the same information.  This is the first time that parallel requests under respective Freedom of Information legislation have been made on both sides of the Atlantic on rendition, or, as far as I am aware, for any other information.”