'Tortured' Pak detainee says MI5 tried to bribe him to drop complaints

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London, July 7 (ANI): The British Security Service, MI5 has been accused of attempting to bribe a man who was jailed on terrorism charges, in a bid to persuade him to withdraw his custodial torture complaints.

Rangzieb Ahmed had three of his fingernails ripped out after MI5 and Greater Manchester police (GMP) drew up a list of questions for officers from a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency.

Ahmed says he was visited in prison by an MI5 officer and a police officer who offered to secure a reduction in his sentence or a payment of money to withdraw his torture complaints when his appeal against conviction is heard later this year.

"They said they wanted my advice about tackling extremism and then said they could offer me protection if I helped them. Then they said, 'If you withdraw what you are saying about torture, we can make a deal with you to reduce your sentence, or if you want to take money we can give you money," The Guardian quoted Ahmed, as saying.

His lawyers have written to the Crown Prosecution Service to complain that the approach was "grossly inappropriate" and amounted to an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Apart from lodging an appeal against his conviction, Ahmed is also suing the British government for damages arising out of his treatment in Pakistan.

"Any attempt to conceal evidence of torture would amount, in this case, to an attempt to pervert the course of justice, and I would expect the courts to take a very serious view of the matter," Ahmed's lawyer Tayab Ali said.

The British Home Office refused to say anything on the matter.

"We don't comment on matters of security. Security service officers act within the law," a Home Office spokesman said.

The international community has expressed concern about Britain's involvement in the torture of detainees held by overseas intelligence agencies during the so-called war on terror.

Earlier this year, Martin Scheinin, a UN special rapporteur on human rights, reported that British intelligence personnel had "interviewed detainees who were held incommunicado by the Pakistani ISI in so-called safe houses, where they were being tortured". (ANI)

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