LONDON – Britain, France and Germany use foreign intelligence obtained
through torture in the fight against terrorism, a new report from Human
Rights Watch said Tuesday.
The use by three heavyweight
European powers of information from secret services in countries that
routinely rely on torture was damaging the reputation of the entire
European Union, said the rights group.
"Berlin, Paris and
London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign
torture intelligence," said Judith Sunderland, Western Europe
researcher for HRW.
"Taking information from torturers is illegal and just plain wrong."
report, "No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries
that Torture," found: "The actual practices of these leading EU states
contradict the EU's anti-torture guidelines, which make eradicating
torture and ill-treatment a priority in its relations with other
The use of such intelligence obtained under
questionable circumstances "damages the credibility of the European
Union", added HRW.
Intelligence services in the three countries
lack detailed instructions on how to assess and respond to information
from countries that torture, said the rights group.
information has been used in criminal proceedings in France and
Germany, despite domestic and international rules banning the use of
such evidence in proceedings, said HRW.
"France, Germany, and
the UK can engage in necessary intelligence cooperation without
undermining the global torture ban," said the rights group.
do so, they must make genuine inquiries of countries that provide
information to determine whether torture was used to obtain it."