Ex-ambassador accuses Straw of lying over torture

By David Leigh in The Guardian

The controversy over the UK’s complicity in torture is likely to be revived today when the BBC screens footage of a former British ambassador describing Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, as a liar. Mr Straw is shown in a BBC2 documentary due for transmission this evening denying any knowledge that Britain uses intelligence gained by torture. But Craig Murray, who was ousted as ambassador to Uzbekistan, responds by saying: “He’s simply lying.”

The programme comes at a sensitive time for the BBC, which was recently forced to rebuke the veteran presenter John Humphrys for making an after-dinner speech suggesting that some Labour politicians tell lies.

In November 2004, Mr Straw admitted privately to MPs: “There are certainly circumstances where we may get intelligence from a liaison partner where we know … that their practices are well below the line. It does not follow that, if it is extracted under torture, it is automatically untrue.” The documentary shows Mr Straw six months later, during the election campaign in Blackburn, denying that Britain uses intelligence gained through torture. Mr Murray stood against Mr Straw in the election on an anti-torture platform.