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British Prime Minister Launches Torture Inquiry

July 7, 2010

British prime minister David Cameron has just announced the launch of an inquiry into alleged torture by British intelligence agents.  British agents will be investigated for colluding with the CIA and other agencies in the extraordinary rendition and torture of individuals suspected of committing terrorist acts.

The investigation is expected to last one year.  Parts of the inquiry will be private, angering human rights organizations seeking full transparency.  Still, this inquiry goes far beyond anything the U.S. government has done to investigate past abuses.

As Keith Best opines in the Guardian, “The UK government must play its part in signalling to the rest of the world that we will not be part of this vicious cycle and demonstrate, head on, our condemnation for torture through our deeds as well as our words.”

And –

As Cameron said in a speech to Parliament, “The longer these questions remain unanswered, the bigger the stain on our reputation as a country that believes in freedom, fairness and human rights grows.”

FCNL calls for a Commission of Inquiry in the United States to investigate U.S.-sponsored torture.  We know that the United States used torture, abuse, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatments as interrogation techniques.  However, we do not have a complete picture as to how torture was approved and used. Without this understanding, there is no guarantee that we can prevent torture from happening in the future.

President Obama and Congress should take a cue from the U.K. and indicate – by our government’s deeds, not just its words – that U.S.-sponsored torture has truly become a thing of the past, never to reoccur.

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