Ex-detainee says UK supplied torture questions

A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner has accused British intelligence of feeding questions to the CIA that he says were put to him while he was tortured in Pakistani and Moroccan jails.

The allegations by Binyam Mohamed, a British resident, looked set to fuel demands by human rights groups for a full investigation into whether Britain's support for the U.S. "war on terror" amounted in his case to complicity with torture.

"When I realized that the British were co-operating with the people torturing me, I felt completely naked," Mohamed told the Mail Sunday newspaper in his first interview since being freed from the Guantanamo prison camp on Cuba last month.

A spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office said: "We abhor torture and never order it or condone it. We take allegations of mistreatment seriously and investigate them when they are made."

Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen, said he and his lawyers, in the course of legal action in the United States, had seen copies of telegrams from Britain's MI5 intelligence service to the Central Intelligence Agency.

He said an MI5 memo sent while he was held in Pakistan in 2002 offered to provide useful background information that would help interrogators identify any inconsistencies in his answers.

"This will place the detainee under more direct pressure and would seem to be the most effective way of obtaining intelligence on Mohammed's (sic) activities/plans concerning the UK," the alleged memo said.

British Files

Mohamed quoted telegrams he said were sent by MI5 to the CIA while he was held between 2002 and 2004 in Morocco, where he says he endured horrific torture including scalpel cuts to his penis.

One of them, headed "Request for further Detainee questioning," included a list of written questions about another individual, whether Mohamed knew him, where he met him, where he had gone and what his intentions were.

Mohamed said he remembered clearly the moment when MI5's questions were first relayed by his Moroccan interrogators.

"They started bringing British files to the interrogations -- thick binders, some of them containing sheaves of photos of people who lived in London and places there like mosques," he said. "It was when they started asking the questions supplied by the British that my situation worsened. They sold me out."

U.S. authorities at one point accused Mohamed of conspiring to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the United States, but eventually freed him from Guantanamo without charge.

The British government last month defended its decision not to release classified information supplied to it by the United States on Mohamed's case, saying to do so would jeopardize intelligence cooperation with Washington.

Britain's attorney-general has said she will see if there is sufficient evidence to order an investigation into the actions of the British government and its intelligence officers.

"We need now to wait for her report," the Foreign Office spokesman said. "We have long pressed for the closure of Guantanamo, and we worked hard to achieve Binyam Mohamed's release."

[Source: By Stefano Ambrogi, Reuters, London, 07Mar09]

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