Government faces pressure to reveal ministers' knowledge as tribunal rules there is a 'strong public interest in accountability'
19 April 2012 - The government is facing renewed pressure over its refusal to disclose Britain's role in abducting terror suspects after the information tribunal ruled there was "a very strong public interest in transparency and accountability" over whether ministers actually applied their stated policy of opposing such practices.
The public interest in openness was all the greater "as ministers have had to correct earlier statements made to parliament about UK involvement" in the practice known as extraordinary rendition – the seizure of prisoners and transfer of them to places where they were likely to be abused and tortured – the tribunal has found.
However, it has ruled that evidence in Foreign Office (FCO) documents revealing the role of MI5 and MI6 must remain secret on the grounds of national security and because their disclosure would "damage international relations".
The tribunal's ruling is in response to a request by the all-party group on extraordinary rendition (APG) for intelligence documents showing how British officials were involved in the secret rendition of UK residents to Guantánamo Bay and other prisons, how the FCO may have asked John Bellinger, then the US state department legal adviser, to say Washington opposed the disclosure of CIA intelligence, and what Britain's security and intelligence agencies told the CIA about Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna, two UK residents seized in Gambia in 2002, and sent to to Guantánamo. read more>>>