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UK uses torture, says former ambassador

IRNA | February 22 2006

Former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray has revealed that he was evidence Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has sanctioned the use of torture.

In an interview with the Bookseller magazine, the outspoken former envoy claimed he had 'proof that the government has been obtaining intelligence from torture, and that Jack Straw approved it'.

Stepping up his criticism of British foreign policy, he also launched a personal offensive against Straw after being sacked from his diplomatic post last year over remarks he made about human rights abuses in Uzbekistan.

According to the Independent newspaper Tuesday, the Foreign Office have written to Murray warning him that they would 'actively consider a claim for breach of confidence or Crown copyright' over his forthcoming memoirs that are due to be published in July.

But Murray said that he would be happy to take the matter to court over his book, 'Murder in Samarkand', and that he intended to call Straw, who is a trained barrister, to give evidence in any legal proceeding.

"The government is seeking to undermine freedom of speech," he told the Bookseller. "If they want to send me to prison, I am prepared."
Since losing his post, the former ambassador has set up his own outspoken website, criticizing western foreign policy, including over the Iraq war.

He also unsuccessfully stood against Straw at his Blackburn constituency in northern England during last year's general election, when he campaigned to raise his dispute with the Foreign Office.

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