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HRW Says Britain Complicit In Torture Of Detainees In Pakistan

LONDON (Reuters) - A human rights group has accused Britain of being complicit in the torture of terrorism detainees in Pakistan and said it should hold an inquiry into the conduct of British security services.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report that Britain had put Pakistan under pressure to extract information from terrorism suspects and was unconcerned about how the detainees were treated.

"British intelligence and law enforcement colluded with and turned a blind eye to the use of torture on terrorism suspects in Pakistan," said Ali Dayan Hasan, a HRW researcher. "British officials knew that Pakistani intelligence agencies routinely used torture, were aware of specific cases and did not intervene."

Britain said it rejected "in the strongest possible terms" the suggestion it ran a policy of complicity in torture.

It said the allegations were not new and that some of the cases highlighted by HRW had been considered and rejected by British courts.

"We have taken a leading role in international efforts to eradicate torture," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

It dismissed the suggestion that British security and intelligence services operated without control or oversight.

"There is no truth in the more serious suggestion that it is our policy to collude in, solicit, or even directly participate in abuses of prisoners," it added.

Two British parliamentary reports this year have raised concerns that the government was aware of the torture and ill-treatment of terrorism suspects held abroad.

British police are also investigating two cases involving allegations that British agents were complicit in torture abroad.

One case relates to allegations made by Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who was detained in Pakistan in 2002 before being transferred to the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The subject of the other case has not been named.