Americans may be through the worst of claims that their government agents tortured suspects apprehended in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attack on America that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Now there are laws in place to prevent repetition of those “rendition” cases.
But an American ally is facing a similar controversy.
RT.com reports a human rights group alleges British intelligence agents are “using torture to extract information from suspects held abroad.”
The report explains the U.K.-based organization Reprieve is demanding a judicial review of the practice.
Under what the report calls the “James Bond clause,” some agents are granted immunity from prosecution in cases involving suspects detained overseas.
Technically, that’s Section 7 of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act.
“The non-profit argues that the authorizations are unlawful as they are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. It claims that the permissions are ‘the modern equivalent of the torture warrants [for interrogation] issued by the Privy Council’ in the 16th and 17th centuries,” the report explained.
The subject, RT.com said, also came up recently in Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee report. It scolded the government for the practice.
The lawmakers said they found when government agents “refer a consolidated guidance case [about detainees abroad] to ministers, they routinely seek, in parallel, an authorization under section 7 … which can provide protection for their officers from domestic civil and criminal liability.”
The committee report called for greater transparency.
Reprieve now has sent a letter seeking details about section 7 authorizations.
Director Maya Foa said: “In recent months, the prime minister has had to apologize for the U.K. government’s role in the ‘appalling’ kidnap and rendition of a pregnant woman and her husband, tried and failed to get away with a ‘light-touch’ review of the torture policy, faced a damning report that revealed hundreds of cases of British complicity in mistreatment, and heard cross-party calls for a full judge-led inquiry into U.K. involvement in torture grow ever louder.”
But Foa said the government still hasn’t learned its lessons.
“The public now need urgent reassurance that ministers cannot legally authorize involvement in torture or mistreatment in any circumstances,” Foa said.