Police seek CIA rendition flights dossier

Police Scotland is investigating claims that Scottish airports were used as a stop-off for 'rendition' flights. Picture: John Devlin

Police Scotland is investigating claims that Scottish airports were used as a stop-off for 'rendition' flights. Picture: John Devlin

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POLICE investigating Scotland’s role in the interrogation and alleged torture of terror suspects by the CIA are pushing US senators to allow them full access to a recently declassified report.

A redacted version of the US Senate report, which was published in December, concluded that agents had used “brutal” interrogation techniques on al-Qaeda suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks.

Police Scotland is investigating claims that Scottish airports were used as a stop-off for “rendition” flights, which transferred prisoners to secret jails overseas.

Scotland on Sunday has learned that the force has ­requested full access to the Senate report, including potentially significant information redacted at the request of the UK security services.

Responding to a letter from the human rights charity, Reprieve, the Crown Office said it had instructed police to request and consider the full version of the report, thought to be more than 6,000 pages.

Iain Logan, of the Crown’s policy division, said: “Police Scotland have been instructed to request and consider the unredacted version of the US Senate select committee’s study into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme as part of the ongoing investigation into rendition flights in Scotland.”

Police Scotland began its investigation in 2013 after research claimed airports including Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick had been used to transfer suspects to “secret prison and torture destinations”. The use of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick airports had been previously identified.

The current police probe was ordered after an earlier inquiry into rendition at Scottish airports concluded there was insufficient evidence to begin a criminal investigation.

Donald Campbell, head of communications for Reprieve, said: “A full, unredacted version of the Senate’s report is a crucial piece of evidence for the investigation into the use of Scottish airports by CIA torture flights. However, with the response not yet clear, it is vital that the US is left in no doubt of how serious Scotland is about getting to the bottom of this. Ministers from both the Scottish and the UK Governments must do everything they can to back up this request, if they are serious about showing that this country does not tolerate torture.”

Earlier this year, MPs ruled that redactions to the report ordered by UK intelligence services were made on the grounds of national security and not to avoid embarrassment. The summary of the report released in December said the CIA had misled Americans about its activities, which included subjecting detainees to waterboarding, slapping, stress positions and sleep deprivation.

A spokesman for the Crown Office declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

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