Torture in  [UK]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [UK]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [UK]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [UK]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                        

The United Kingdom (UK)

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quintet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005; energy industries now contribute about 4% to GDP. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: UK

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the UK.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Men ‘Beaten, Deprived of Sleep, Food and Water’ Not Tortured, Says New Ruling

Corallina Lopez Curzi, 21 March 2018

[accessed 25 March 2018]

At the peak period of the Troubles, a group of ‘high value’ prisoners were subjected to ‘deep interrogation’ – which means they were exposed to treatments aimed at causing intense physical and psychological pain. The idea was to coerce them into confessing, despite the overwhelming evidence that intelligence obtained by torture has no value whatsoever.

Amongst the deep interrogation methods employed by the British, ‘five techniques‘ in particular stood out: deprivation of sleep, deprivation of food and drink, stress positions, hooding and subjection to ‘white noise’. The men also claimed they were beaten.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 13 Feb 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - On 12 January, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that, following an investigation, criminal charges would not be brought in two cases against UK intelligence officers alleged to be involved in the ill-treatment of detainees abroad. The first case related to involvement in the torture and other ill-treatment of Binyam Mohamed, the second to an unnamed individual held by US authorities at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in January 2002. However, the MPS stated that it had received other allegations, and was considering possible further criminal investigations.

Criminal investigations were announced, however, into UK involvement in the alleged rendition of Sami al Saadi and Abdel Hakim Belhaj to Libya in 2004 and their reported torture and ill-treatment. In December, Sami al Saadi and his family accepted a financial settlement from the government. A civil claim for damages brought by Abdel Hakim Belhaj against UK authorities remained pending at the end of the year.

On 18 January, the government announced that because of the new criminal investigations concerning alleged renditions to Libya, the Detainee Inquiry would conclude early. The Detainee Inquiry had been established in 2010 to examine allegations of UK involvement in human rights violations of individuals detained abroad in the context of counter-terrorism operations. However, it fell short of international human rights standards for effective, independent and thorough investigations. On 27 June, the Detainee Inquiry provided the government with a report on its work to date, which remained unpublished at the end of year.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 15 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such practices, there were complaints that individual members of the police occasionally abused detainees. On December 8, the House of Lords Judicial Committee reversed an appeals court decision and ruled that even in terrorism cases no court could consider evidence obtained through torture.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/33/3 (2004)

[accessed 12 March 2013]

4. The Committee expresses its concern at:

(a) remaining inconsistencies between the requirements of the Convention and the provisions of the State party's domestic law which, even after the passage of the Human Rights Act, have left continuing gaps; notably:

(i) article 15 of the Convention prohibits the use of evidence gained by torture wherever and by whomever obtained; notwithstanding the State party's assurance set out in paragraph 3 (g), supra, the State party's law has been interpreted to exclude the use of evidence extracted by torture only where the State party's officials were complicit; and

(ii) article 2 of the Convention provides that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification for torture; the text of Section 134(4) of the Criminal Justice Act however provides for a defence of "lawful authority, justification or excuse" to a charge of official intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, a defence which is not restricted by the Human Rights Act for conduct outside the State party, where the Human Rights Act does not apply; moreover, the text of section 134(5) of the Criminal Justice Act provides for a defence for conduct that is permitted under foreign law, even if unlawful under the State party's law;

(b) the State party's limited acceptance of the applicability of the Convention to the actions of its forces abroad, in particular its explanation that "those parts of the Convention which are applicable only in respect of territory under the jurisdiction of a State party cannot be applicable in relation to actions of the United Kingdom in Afghanistan and Iraq"; the Committee observes that the Convention protections extend to all territories under the jurisdiction of a State party and considers that this principle includes all areas under the de facto effective control of the State party's authorities;

(c) the incomplete factual and legal grounds advanced to the Committee justifying the derogations from the State party's international human rights obligations and requiring the emergency powers set out in Part IV of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; similarly, with respect to Northern Ireland, the absence of precise information on the necessity for the continued emergency provisions for that jurisdiction contained in the Terrorism Act 2000;

(d) the State party's reported use of diplomatic assurances in the "refoulement" context in circumstances where its minimum standards for such assurances, including effective post-return monitoring arrangements and appropriate due process guarantees followed, are not wholly clear and thus cannot be assessed for compatibility with article 3 of the Convention;

(e) the State party's resort to potentially indefinite detention under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 of foreign nationals suspected of involvement in international terrorism and the strict regime applied in Belmarsh prison;

(f) the investigations carried out by the State party into a number of deaths by lethal force arising between the entry into force of the Convention in 1988 and the Human Rights Act in 2000 which have failed to fully meet its international obligations;

(g) reports of unsatisfactory conditions in the State party's detention facilities including substantial numbers of deaths in custody, inter-prisoner violence, overcrowding and continued use of "slopping out" sanitation facilities, as well as reports of unacceptable conditions for female detainees in the Hydebank Wood prison, including a lack of gender-sensitive facilities, policies, guarding and medical aid, with male guards alleged to constitute 80% of guarding staff and incidents of inappropriate threats and incidents affecting female detainees;

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 15 February 2013]

The terrorist attacks led to government proposals to toughen antiterrorism laws, which in turn sparked concerns about civil liberties. The proposals, first introduced in August 2005, were wide ranging, although one of Blair’s first measures was defeated. Instead of extending the time terrorism suspects could be held without detention from 14 to 90 days, the Commons extended the period to 28 days. In another government setback, the Law Lords, the highest court in Britain, ruled in December that evidence obtained through torture could not be used at trial.

Human Rights in the United Kingdom

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 15 February 2013]

The European Court of Human Rights and domestic Human Rights Act face ongoing political and media attack in the UK. A draft law before Parliament would widen the use of secret hearings in civil courts when national security is invoked, undermining accountability for abuses by UK officials. Criminal investigations and civil cases on alleged UK complicity in torture and rendition to Gadaffi-era Libya continue, although a wider inquiry into UK complicity in rendition has been shelved. NGOs had boycotted the inquiry over lack of transparency and independence.

Former internees claim 'new evidence' of Army torture

Vincent Kearney, BBC NI home affairs correspondent, BBC News, Northern Ireland, 28 November 2013

[accessed 30 Nov 2013]

On their way to the interrogation centre in 1971, the interned men were hooded and thrown to the ground from helicopters.   They had been told they were hundreds of feet in the air, but were actually just a few feet from the ground.

They were then subjected to what the Army referred to as "the five techniques".   They were beaten, deprived of sleep, food and water, and forced to stand in a stress position against a wall for long periods.   "The noise was indescribable, like steam coming from a boiler at a high rate," said former internee Gerry McKerr.

"We were put against the wall and told to hold the position for as long as we could. On falling, we were beaten and placed back against the wall again.   "I collapsed innumerable times and was beaten each time," Mr McKerr said.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- United Kingdom UK",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [UK]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [UK]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [UK]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [UK]  [other countries]