Britain tolerated the "inexcusable" mistreatment of detainees by US authorities during the war on terror and took part in planning extraordinary rendition operations, a British parliamentary report said yesterday.
"In our view the UK tolerated actions, and took others, that we regard as inexcusable," according to the report by lawmakers from parliament's intelligence and security committee.
Responding to the report, British Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged that alleged threats to detainees by intelligence officers and troops was "clearly unacceptable".
The report said British officials became aware of mistreatment of US-held prisoners soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"There are at least 38 cases in 2002 alone of (British) officers witnessing or hearing about mistreatment," the report said.
"That the US, and others, were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that (British) agencies... were aware of this at an early point.
"The same is true of rendition: there was no attempt to identify the risks involved and formulate the UK's response," it added.
MPs also found three cases in which Britain's spy agencies MI6 and MI5 "made, or offered to make, a financial contribution to others to conduct a rendition operation".
"Given the countries concerned, these can be described as 'extraordinary renditions' due to the real risk of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," it said.
There were 28 cases in which British security services "planned or agreed to rendition operations proposed by others" and a further 22 cases in which they "provided intelligence to enable a rendition operation to take place," the report noted.
It added there was no evidence of rendition flights crossing British airspace but two detainees transited through Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean with a US base.