Letter from Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman
of the All-Party Group on Extraordinary Rendition, to the Chair
of the Committee, dated 28 January 2009
I am writing to you about UK nationals detained
in Pakistan on suspicion of terrorist offences, in advance of
your evidence session with Ian Cobain of The Guardian and
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday 3 February 2009. I hope that the
attached information is of use to your Committee in this evidence
I response to a Written Question the Government stated
that two British so-called "mono" nationals detained
in Pakistan had been visited by British non-consular officials.
Dr Howell's letter however, which revised the total number of
British nationals detained from six to eight, refused to set out
how many of these detainees had been visited by British non-consular
officials. He has still not done so, despite a recommendation
by the Foreign Affairs Committee that he should.
I have asked a number a number of other Parliamentary
Questions which could be of interest, and attach them.
I have also attached letters to the Intelligence and Security
Committee [Annex A], and from the Foreign Office Minister Dr Kim
Howells [Annex B], correcting the answers provided to me by his
Department. I am placing this letter in the public domain.
Letter from Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, to Rt Hon Margaret
Beckett MP, Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee,
dated 17 July 2008
Re: Extraordinary Rendition
I am writing to ask your Committee to investigate
allegations that UK Intelligence officers have been involved in
the torture of British nationals in Pakistan. Having examined
this issue I think it would be in the public interest if your
Committee were to investigate it.
Clearly, your Committee cannot and should not seek
to investigate every allegation of British involvement in torture.
However, this is a particularly sensitive issue on account of
the close counter-terrorism relationship between the UK and Pakistan.
Allegations of torture perpetrated by Pakistani intelligence and
security services are widespread.
I fht specific allegations are groundless then your Committee
can give the public reassurance. It would also be of value to
have reassurance that British officials have not been complicit
in torture by Pakistani authorities.
I have attached the Parliamentary Questions I have
asked on this issue. Please let me know if I can be of further
I am putting this letter in the public domain.
Letter from Kim Howells MP, Minister of State,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman
of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition,
dated 11 August 2008
I am writing concerning a written Parliamentary
Question (203571) you tabled on 29 April 2008 about the detention
of British or dual/ British/Pakistani nationals in Pakistan and
my answer of 8 May 2008.
I replied that we were aware of six cases of British
or dual British/Pakistani nationals having been detained on suspicion
of terrorist offences in Pakistan since 2000.
You will be aware that since my reply, the Foreign
Affairs Committee raised further points regarding these individuals
in their response to the FCO's Annual Human Rights Report.
While working on the response to the FAC report,
officials became aware that the six names held on lists by different
FCO departments and which formed the basis of my answer to you
did not fully correspond and that in fact there were eight individual
cases. However, I should make clear that it will always be difficult
to give precise numbers as it is often the case that we will not
be given consular notification of the detention of dual British
nationals in the country of their second nationality.
I am sorry that this admninistrtaive confusion
caused me to give an inaccurate reply to your question. Procedures
are being put in place to prevent this mistake occurring again.
In the future. I have sent a letter of correction to the Editor
of Hansard in order to amend the record.
I know that you tabled a number of further Parliamentary
Questions requesting additional detail about the original six
cases. I take this opportunity to provide the same information
in relation to he further two cases now identified (see Annex
I hope that that his provides you with a comprehensive
picture of the further two cases recently identified.
I am copying this letter to Mike Gapes MP, in
has capacity as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Margaret
Beckett MP, in her capacity as Chair of the Intelligence and Security
Committee, for information. Further details about our policy and
handling of such cases will be provided in our response to the
FAC report on the FCO's Annual Human Rights Report.
PQ 206054in how many of the cases British
consular access was (a) requested and (b) granted.
Consular access was sought in one of the two
cases, but not granted before the individual was released by the
Pakistani authorities. We believe that both individuals were dual
nationals. However there is often uncertainty about nationality
in such cases due to the fact that we rely on information from
the Pakistani authorities to confirm this.
PQ 206055in how many of the cases the detainee
complained of mistreatment.
Of these two cases, one detainee complained of mistreatment
while in detention and consular access was sought. Press reports
alleged that the other was abused whilst in detention. We contacted
the individual following these reports but he has not asked us
to take this forward with the Pakistani authorities.
PQ 207358whether any of the detainees are
still in Pakistani detention.
I can confirm that both these individuals were released
from Pakistani custody.
PQ 207259whether any of the detainees were
visited by other British officials.
I can neither confirm nor deny whether UK officials
met any of these individuals to discuss non-consular matters.
It is the Government's long standing policy not to comment on
PQ 207361for what reasons consular access
was not sought in all cases
In line with the Consular Guide, in which we set
out the help we can offer to British nationals abroad, we would
not normally offer consular assistance to dual nationals in their
country of other nationality. We may make an exception to this
rule if, having looked at the circumstances of the case, we consider
that there is a special humanitarian reason to do so. If we become
aware of an allegation of torture against a dual UK national held
in the country of their other nationality, it is likely we would
seek consular access and we would carefully consider raising the
allegation with the local authorities. We would look at each situation
on a case-by-case basis. However, if we were not ware of such
allegations then we would not normally seek consular access.
PQ 214990what steps the Government took
in the cases of those who alleged mistreatment
In the case of the individual who alleged mistreatment
whilst in detention we raised these allegations officially with
the Pakistan authorities. We have yet to receive any official
response from them. In the other case, the individual asked us
not to raise any allegations with the Pakistani authorities.
PQ 214991how the government learned of
the detention in Pakistan of the dual British/Pakistani nationals
As I stated regarding the original four dual British/Pakistani
cases, the Pakistani authorities were under no obligation to inform
us of the detention of dual nationals in their second country
of nationality. In all cases we were informed of their detention
either by family members of foreign officials.
28 Foreign Affairs Committee, Human Rights Annual Report
2007, 20 July 2008, para 63. Back
See: HC Deb 1105W, 8 May 2008; HC Deb 1815W, 16 May 2008; HC Deb
1005W, 4 June 2008; HC Deb 1006W, 4 June 2008; and HC Deb 1129W,
3 July 2008. Back
This was highlighted in the FCO Human Rights Annual Report 2007,
page 166. Back
See, for example, the US State Departmnent's 2007 Country Report
on Human Rights Practices, http://www.state.gov.g.drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100619.htm Back