Freedom from Torture - "Torture is the weapon of the bully, the coward and the fool." - John le Carré in The Times

"Torture is the weapon of the bully, the coward and the fool." - John le Carré in The Times

John le Carré, distinguished author and Freedom from Torture patron, joined Freedom from Torture and other leading human rights organisations in calling for a judge-led inquiry into Britain’s complicity in torture post 9/11 in a letter to The Times today.

He references a report in The Times of 11 August (paywall) in which MPs and former MPs, David Davis MP, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, Andrew Mitchell MP, Dan Jarvis MP and Crispin Blunt MP, called on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to authorise a judge-led inquiry into Britain's complicity in torture as expressed in a joint letter to Theresa May by Freedom from Torture and other leading human rights organisations.

He points out that there is no question that Britain was complicit with the programme of rendition and torture practiced by the US during the "War on Terror". He points to the documentation of the rendition and torture of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar in 2004, with the complicity and collaboration of British security agents.

Mr le Carré's letter asks:

The question now is to what extent and by whose authority such complicity occurred.

In May this year the  UK government made an unprecedented full apology both for the treatment meted out to Mr Belhaj and Mrs Boudchar.  

Freedom from Torture welcomed the apology and the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee reports, issued shortly afterwards, which documented many instances of British complicity and collaboration in rendition and torture. In both cases it stated that a judge-led enquiry was needed.

Mr le Carré criticises President Trump's assertion that torture "absolutely works" and declares that torture to be the  "weapon of the bully, the coward and the fool."

His letter ends:

But in our country, and in every decent country in the world, torture is vile, useless, abhorrent and illegal.

The letter published on 17 August, can be read in full on The Times Letters page (paywall)

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