Conservative Party demands apology from Jack Straw over “disgraceful” treatment of Craig Murray

The Scotsman – Tories Demand Straw Apology over Ex-Envoy:

By Vivienne Morgan, PA Political Staff

Tories today demanded an apology from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over his ‘disgraceful’ treatment of Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan.

Craig Murray was withdrawn from his post in the Central Asian country last year after criticising its human rights record.

He has said he lost his job because he accused British and US intelligence services of using information allegedly obtained through torture by Uzbek security services.

The Foreign Office said he was withdrawn because he lost the confidence of senior officials and colleagues.

Mr Murray stood as an independent candidate against Mr Straw at Blackburn in the General Election.

During exchanges on future business today, Tory Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) said: ‘Many of us believe that our ex-ambassador Craig Murray has been disgracefully treated by the Foreign Secretary, but no action was taken against human rights abuses in that country.

‘We’d like an apology from the Foreign Secretary from that dispatch box,’ he added to shouts of support from Conservative benches.

Commons Leader Geoff Hoon replied: ‘I am sure that if he judges it necessary there will be a statement on Uzbekistan.’

He added that a detailed report was awaited from the current British ambassador, David Moran, who visited the troubled part of the state yesterday.

Opposition activists have claimed that some 700 people were killed during protests in Andijan and another town, Pakhtabad ‘ most of them civilians shot dead by government troops and security forces.

The Uzbek government of President Islam Karimov has said that 169 people died in Andijan and blamed the disturbances on militant Islamists.

Mr Straw has called for an independent international inquiry.