Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The security service MI5 is being accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by offering a man inducements to drop his allegation that its officers colluded in his torture.
Rangzieb Ahmed had three of his fingernails ripped out after MI5 and Greater Manchester police (GMP) drew up a list of questions for officers from a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency who had detained him in Pakistan. He was later deported to the UK and jailed for terrorism offences. Ahmed says he was visited in prison by an MI5 officer and a police officer who offered to secure a reduction in his sentence or a payment of money to withdraw his torture complaints when his appeal against conviction is heard later this year. His lawyers have written to the Crown Prosecution Service to complain that the approach was “grossly inappropriate” and amounted to an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
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As well as lodging an appeal against his conviction, Ahmed is also suing the British government for damages arising out of his treatment in Pakistan. It is thought that his lawyers are planning to rely to some extent on a judgment made after legal argument that preceded his trial, the full details of which are being kept secret at the request of MI5 and GMP.
In an interview with the Guardian last week, Ahmed, 33, from Rochdale, says he received a visit at Manchester prison last April from a man in his 40s who identified himself as an MI5 officer, accompanied by a man in his mid-30s who said he was a police officer. “They said they wanted my advice about tackling extremism and then said they could offer me protection if I helped them. Then they said, ‘If you withdraw what you are saying about torture, we can make a deal with you to reduce your sentence, or if you want to take money we can give you money.’ ”
This article was posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 4:15 am