Photo of Lord Tyler

Lord Tyler (Liberal Democrat)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the conclusions of the reports by the Open Society Justice Initiative, Globalising Torture and the Centre for Policy Studies, Neither Just nor Secure, on extraordinary rendition.

Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat)

The Government note the reports entitled Globalising Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition, by the Open Society for Justice, and Neither Just nor Secure by the Centre for Policy Studies.

The Government have been clear that they stand firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. We do not condone it, nor do we ask others to do it on our behalf.

Serious allegations have been made about the role the UK has played in the past in the treatment of detainees held by other countries, and in the illegal transfer of detainees from one country to another. We have been clear and remain absolutely committed to ensuring that these serious allegations are examined carefully. As the Prime Minister, my right honourable friend Mr Cameron, told the House of Commons on 6 July 2010 (Hansard, col. 175) those allegations are not proven, but their consequences are serious.

We remain committed to drawing a line under these issues and have taken a number of steps:

we have published the consolidated guidance, which provides clear directions for intelligence officers and service personnel dealing with foreign intelligence services regarding detainees held overseas; we have been clear that allegations of wrongdoing can be investigated by the police, with full co-operation from the Government;we fully intend to hold an independent judge-led inquiry once all related police investigations are completed; andwe have brought forward measures in the Justice and Security Bill which, by allowing courts to consider all the relevant evidence, will ensure that more civil cases alleging mistreatment can be heard.

The Government have responded to the Centre for Policy Studies report by means of a letter from the Minister without Portfolio, my right honourable friend Mr Clarke, to my right honourable friend Mr Tyrie, the report's author. The reply is published on the Cabinet Office website at: http://consultation.cabinet office.gov.uk/justiceandsecurity/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Ken-Clarke-to-Andrew-Tyrie-110213.pdf.

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