Committee Faults British Gov't on Torture

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A House of Commons committee faulted Prime Minister Tony Blair;s (search) government Friday for not saying whether it uses information extracted through torture (search) in other countries.

The Foreign Affairs panel also urged the government to make "strong representations" to the United States about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay (search).

British citizens who have been released from the Cuban base or who were detained in Afghanistan have alleged that they were tortured.

"We find it surprising and unsettling that the government has twice failed to answer our specific question on whether or not the U.K. receives or acts upon information extracted under torture by a third country," the committee said in its annual report.

"We recommend that the government give a clear answer to the question. The government should ensure that it is understood by other governments that the mistreatment of British nationals is unacceptable and will be met with appropriate action."

The Foreign Office said the government "condemns the use of torture and has worked with international partners to eradicate the practice."

"The government never uses torture or instigates others to use torture," the Foreign Office said.

The committee said there were compelling arguments for using information on impending terror attacks no matter what the source, but it said there should not be a general policy of using information obtained through torture.

Amnesty International said it shared the committee's concerns.

"It is difficult to avoid concluding that the Government is chillingly indifferent over the question of using blood-stained information," the international human rights group said.

"We have repeatedly emphasized that information extracted by torture is not only morally repugnant but also totally unreliable and effectively useless.

"The government should make it absolutely clear that it would not use information gained through torturing people," Amnesty International said.