Ken Clarke: Government response to Intelligence and Security Committee reports on rendition "an exercise in evasion"

APPG Chair Ken Clarke has today criticised the government’s attempt to bury its response to the Intelligence and Security Committee reports into detainee mistreatment and rendition.

On 28 June 2018, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) published two reports into detainee mistreatment and rendition. The reports revealed shocking levels of UK complicity in rendition and torture, with UK involvement in or knowledge of hundreds of cases of mistreatment and over 70 cases of rendition. However, the ISC were unable to get to the full truth due to government obstruction, with access to key witnesses blocked.

On Thursday last week, a full 147 days after the reports’ publication, the government tried to deflect attention from its response by releasing it at the same time as the ISC’s new report into the 2017 terror attacks.

The response fails to engage in any meaningful way with the ISC’s findings, nor does it announce whether or not the government will hold a judge-led inquiry.

Ken Clarke called it “a classic case of smuggling out bad news on the day when everyone is distracted by a big political event” and expressed concern that the response fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the ISC’s findings.

He said, “the government has not even sought to address the calls that I and others have made for the re-opening of the adjourned judge-led inquiry. Worryingly, the secret services are trying to assert that "all detainee-related cases of potential concern have been scrutinised." This ignores completely that the Belhaj case – where a man and his pregnant wife were rendered with MI6 assistance to Gadaffi’s torture chambers – has not been scrutinised by any independent body at all… The question that must now be asked, in light of the government’s continued failure to announce a judge-led inquiry is: what is the government trying to hide?”

Read the full press release here