Government should allow independent judge-led inquiry into UK involvement in rendition – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has used Prime Minister’s Questions to urge David Cameron to establish an independent, judge-led inquiry into the UK Government’s involvement in rendition for torture of terrorism suspects.

Earlier this month, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that they would not bring any charges over the UK’s involvement in the rendition of two Libyan families. Mr Cameron has previously described rendition as doing “huge damage to our moral authority”, yet decided four years ago to scrap the Gibson Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in so-called rendition and the torture of terrorism suspects. 

Later today, Mr Carmichael will also lead an adjournment debate in Parliament on this issue. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said: 

Before the Prime Minister goes, though, will he attend to one matter that, when he was in opposition, he described as doing enormous moral damage to the moral authority of our country—the involvement of our security services in rendition? Now that the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that it is not going to prosecute Sir Mark Allen for what he did, will the Prime Minister reconstitute the Gibson inquiry so that we can know what was done in our name, and on whose authority? 

In reply, the Prime Minister said: 

The right hon. Gentleman raises an important point about the Libya rendition issue. The Government co-operated fully with the police investigation. The CPS set out its position recently, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. I would say—I can say these things now—that very few countries in the world would have had such an independent and thorough investigation into an issue like this. The right approach, as Sir Peter Gibson has finished the report on what he was able to do, is that the Intelligence and Security Committee has agreed to look at the issues raised in his report, and it should continue to do so. 

Commenting afterwards, Mr Carmichael said: 

“The UK Government’s involvement in the rendition of individuals for torture is a moral stain on our society. When he was Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister said so himself as he urged the then Labour government to act. At the time Tony Blair was cosying up to Colonel Gaddafi, and we now know that the UK was directly involved in transporting terrorist suspects to Libya where they faced unspeakable torture. No MI6 officials or former minister will be held accountable for the renditions of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi to Libya. 

“I used my question to the Prime Minister today to highlight this injustice. Very little was made at the time of the government’s quiet abandonment of the Gibson inquiry, so I call on the Prime Minister now, in one of his last acts, to re-establish an independent, judge-led inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this sorry saga once and for all. Asking the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to look into the Gibson report is not sufficient, as they are subject to a government veto on the evidence they can see. The Prime Minister said the ISC were not up to the job in 2010, so what has changed now?”



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