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Guidance: UK involvement with detainees in overseas counter-terrorism operations

National Security

September 24
14:57 2019

The Principles relating to the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees July

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Consolidated guidance to intelligence officers and service personnel (pdf, 148kb)

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Note of additional information

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Details

On Tuesday 6 July the Prime Minister made a statement to Parliament in response to the serious allegations that have been made about the role the UK has played in the treatment of detainees held by other countries. He set out how the Government intends to settle the issues of the past, make clear the rules of operation for the future, and build a framework for justice that enhances both security and liberty.

As part of this work, and to be as clear as possible about the standards under which the intelligence agencies and armed forces operate, the Government has published Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees, together with a note of additional information from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Home Secretary, and the Defence Secretary.

The Guidance was subsequently made the subject of two linked legal challenges. The Government was successful in defending one of these challenges. However, as a result of the Courts judgement in the second challenge regarding hooding of detainees by foreign States, we have amended paragraph d (iii) of the Annex to the Guidance to make clearer that hooding of detainees by foreign States in any circumstances could constitute Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (The Ministry of Defence had already banned hooding by its personnel in all circumstances.) To be clear, the Government stands firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. We do not condone it, nor do we ask others to do it on our behalf. Officers whose actions are consistent with the Guidance should have confidence that they will not risk personal liability.

The Prime Minister also announced an independent Inquiry to examine whether, and if so to what extent, the UK Government and its intelligence agencies were involved in improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in counter-terrorism operations overseas, or were aware of improp

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