Intelligence officers had insufficient training for interrogating detainees

UK intelligence personnel operating in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq did not have sufficient training in how to treat those they were interrogating under international law, according to a report.

The Commons intelligence and security committee’s report The Handling of Detainees by UK Intelligence Personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, was laid before Parliament today by the prime minister.

It said there were fewer than 15 occasions when UK intelligence personnel reported actual or potential breaches of UK policy or the international conventions relating to the conduct of interviews and the holding of detainees.

However, it also found intelligence staff were not sufficiently well trained on the Geneva Conventions prior to their deployment nor did they know that the UK had prohibited certain interrogation techniques in 1972.

Committee chairman, Ann Taylor, said that apart from limited and specific breaches, the committee had found no evidence that UK intelligence personnel deliberately abused detainees.

“We note that the personnel were required to operate in very difficult and unusual conditions to fulfil the UK intelligence community’s duty to obtain intelligence for the purpose of protecting the UK from terrorist threats,” she said.

The UK intelligence personnel conducted or witnessed just over 2,000 interviews in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, the committee said.

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