UK admits part in rendition
London - Britain's defence minister made
an unusual public apology on Thursday, admitting that Britain
had taken part in the "rendition" of suspects held in Iraq when
it had previously always denied doing so.
In a lengthy statement to Parliament, Defence Secretary John
Hutton confirmed that Britain handed two suspects captured in
Iraq in 2004 to US custody and that they were subsequently
transferred to Afghanistan, breaching US-British agreements.
The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly been asked over the
past five years about its involvement in rendition - the transfer
of suspects captured or held in Iraq and Afghanistan - and
consistently denied that it has played any role.
"I regret that it is now clear that inaccurate information
on this particular issue has been given to the House by my
department on a small number of occasions," Hutton said.
to apologise to the House for these errors."
The case relates to two men seized by British troops in
southern Iraq in February 2004.
They were transferred to US
detention and later flown to Afghanistan, where they remain in
Both are said to be members of Laskhar-e-Taiba, a
Pakistan-based group with links to al-Qaeda.
The US has provided assurances that the suspects are being
properly treated, Hutton said.