Government sued over Guantanamo torture

A BRITISH man who spent three years under American guard at Guantanamo Bay is to sue the British government.

Tarek Dergoul, 29, has brought the civil action against MI5 and MI6 accusing them of doing nothing after he persistently told them he was being tortured at the high-security detention facility.

Mr Dergoul, who was released in 2004 without charge, also accused British agents of “benefiting” from his treatment.

The landmark case could change the way British agents operate overseas when it come to British citizens.

If Mr Dergoul is successful in his action it would mean that MI5 and MI6 could not interrogate British nationals while they are being held and tortured abroad.

Mr Dergoul told the Guardian newspaper: “This action comes at a time when people all over the world need protection from torture and abuse by governments which say they represent and uphold human rights.”

His lawyer, Louise Christian, said Mr Dergoul, was seeking compensation and a ruling from the High Court that his interrogation by the British officials was illegal.

“Apart from damages, we’re also seeking a declaration from the court that it was unlawful for the security services to interrogate him when they knew or ought to have known that he was being tortured,” Christian told Reuters.

“It’s trying to establish the principle that the security services should not take advantage of people being tortured by other regimes to interrogate people.

Dergoul, a British citizen, says he was questioned by Foreign Office and security officials while being held at Guantanamo Bay, and complained to them in vain about his alleged ill-treatment.

He was assaulted by guards, chained to the floor for hours at a time, placed in stress positions, exposed to extreme hot and cold, had his body forcibly shaved and was subjected to sexually intrusive searches, Christian said.

Captured in Afghanistan in 2001, Dergoul was held initially at Bagram and Kandahar before being transferred to the U.S. detention camp on Cuba. He denies any involvement in fighting or terrorism, and was freed without charge in 2004.


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