Mohamed torture investigation: Reactions

Binyam Mohamed

“I am very pleased that an investigation is taking place. I feel very strongly that we shouldn’t scapegoat the little people. We certainly shouldn’t blame ‘Witness B’ – he was only following orders.”

Gordon Brown

“I want to stand up for the security forces, because they can’t stand up for themselves. They have my unequivocal support. they do a good job.”

Conservatives

David Cameron, Conservative leader

“This is a disturbing and worrying development. It is vital we get to the bottom of whether Britain has been complicit in torture. I’m still not convinced we can do that through a police investigation, we may need some form of wider inquiry.”

Liberal Democrats

Ed Davey, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman

“After months of delay, the attorney general has at last made a clear decision.

“These are incredibly serious allegations of complicity in barbaric acts of torture and breaches of international law. There must be complete faith in the way the investigation is carried out if the public’s trust, and Britain’s standing in the world, is ever to be restored.

“It is now absolutely vital that government officials, politicians and intelligence agencies co-operate fully with this unprecedented investigation. That means police must have access not only to intelligence agents but also to those senior civil servants and ministers who set the policy under which agents operated.

“However, the wider question of the government’s policy on rendition and torture throughout the Bush and Blair years will remain unanswered by this investigation. Only a fully independent judicial inquiry can get to the bottom of this and ensure that trust in government and international respect for Britain is restored.”
Amnesty International

Jeremy Croft, Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs

“Referring Binyam Mohamed’s case to the police is the right thing to do, but it should be just the first step.

“We also need a separate independent inquiry into allegations from Binyam Mohamed and others that the UK colluded in their torture, rendition, illegal detention and other human right abuses.

“What we must not lose sight of here is that Binyam Mohamed’s is far from being the only case where there are serious allegations that the UK colluded in the mistreatment or illegal detention of people from this country and elsewhere.

“We still need an independent inquiry with the powers to unearth any wrongdoing by UK officials during the ‘war on terror'”.

Liberty

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty

“We welcome today’s announcement that there will finally be a criminal investigation into Binyam Mohammed’s kidnap and torture. Whilst many will see the attorney general’s announcement as coming better late than never, the five month delay in reporting such a serious suspected offence to the police is far from an ideal example of respect for the law.

“We look forward to the Metropolitan Police investigation into this particular case but the wider public interest still requires a full judicial inquiry into all British involvement in extraordinary rendition.”

Reprieve

Zachary Katznelson, legal director of Reprieve

“The key to any successful police inquiry is whether or not they have access to all the documents, including secret documents. Without full access, the police will be seeing only one tiny piece of this ugly mosaic of torture.

“The police also must get in touch with Binyam’s lawyers at Reprieve – just one look at our documents will be enough to convince anyone that criminal acts have taken place.”