Highlands & Islands

Police Scotland to examine CIA torture report

CIA logo Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The CIA has said that the interrogations saved lives

Police Scotland are to consider a report on the CIA's treatment of al-Qaeda suspects as part of its probe into rendition flights.

The US Senate report said that the CIA carried out "brutal" interrogations in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the US,

Police began an investigation in 2013 into the CIA's use of Scottish airports for the transfer of suspects.

The probe followed research by Kent and Kingston universities that suggested Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick were used.

The use of Prestwick, Glasgow and Edinburgh as a stop-off on journeys, often linking the US and Middle East, had previously been identified by the two universities.

The CIA has defended its actions in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US and in a statement insisted the interrogations had helped save lives.

'International law'

The name rendition flights comes from the agency's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme that took place from 2002-07.

The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC has instructed Police Scotland to consider the US Senate report.

He said: "The use of torture cannot be condoned. It is against international law and contrary to the common law of Scotland.

"I have instructed Police Scotland to consider the information published in the US Senate report as part of the ongoing police investigation into rendition flights into Scotland."

The SNP called for the UK government to "come clean" on whether US intelligence flights through Scottish airports were related to extraordinary rendition.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The report accuses US intelligence agencies of using "extraordinary rendition" to send terror suspects for questioning in countries where they had no legal protection or rights under American law

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: "The new revelations made in the US Senate's report are appalling - those who are responsible for human rights abuses must be swiftly brought to justice.

"Almost a decade ago I published a report detailing a significant number of US intelligence flights that were made through Scottish airports. At the time Labour's senior politicians denied any UK involvement in rendition flights. We know now they lied.

"In light of the shocking report by the US Senate the UK government must give immediate answers on whether these intelligence flights involved rendition and what knowledge the UK Government had of the practices detailed in the report."

Prime Minister David Cameron has said questions about the interrogation of terror suspects have been "dealt with from the British perspective".

Mr Cameron said British agents had been given new guidance on how to behave.

Interrogation and torture

The senate report said the CIA had justified its techniques with "inaccurate claims of their effectiveness", including citing foiled terror plots against the UK.

The programme involved the secret detention and transfer of terror suspects to other countries for interrogation and torture.

Researchers at the universities of Kent and Kingston studied thousands of flights suspected of being involved.

In 2013, they concluded that five potential rendition flights landed at Wick, a further five at Inverness and three at Aberdeen.

One aircraft which landed at Wick in 2004 was "logged flying to secret prison and torture destinations", the researchers said.

It cannot be established if the planes had prisoners on board, only that the aircraft were linked to rendition flights in the past.

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