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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 13 December, 2019

'Weigh importance of info sought against pain inflicted': UK's secret policy on torture

A top secret document has been obtained by the Guardian detailing the UK’s policy on torture.

The heaquarters of MI6, the UK's intelligence service, on the banks of the Thames in London.
The heaquarters of MI6, the UK's intelligence service, on the banks of the Thames in London.
Image: Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

A TOP SECRET document has revealed how officers in the British security and intelligence services were allowed to extract information from prisoners who were being illegally tortured according to the Guardian.

The UK’s interrogation policy instructed officers to weigh the importance of the information they were seeking against the amount of pain they expected a prisoner to suffer. The paper says such a policy was operated by the British government for almost a decade.

The document also contains the concerns officials had about its contents being revealed. It outlines worries that the British public could actually be at greater risk of terrorist attacks if Islamists became aware of its very existence. The policy was rewritten on the orders of the new coalition government last July.

Its emergence comes as a number of human rights groups and lawyers said this week they would not co-operate with an inquiry into UK complicity in torture because some documents, such as the one revealed today, may not be made public when the inquiry gets underway following the conclusion of a currently ongoing police investigation.

Read more Ian Cobain’s story and see the document on the Guardian >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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