LONDON — Theresa May has been urged to end Britain’s extradition treaty with the US after Donald Trump indicated that he intends to authorise the use of torture.
The new US president is reportedly preparing a executive order that would clear the way for the C.I.A. to reopen the overseas “black site” prisons, where terrorism suspects were tortured before former President Barack Obama shut them down.
He has pledged to bring back waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse” saying that “torture works,” and “if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”
The prime minister is due to meet Trump at the White House on Friday and has faced calls to rule out “facilitating” him on the issue.
“When she sees him on Friday, will the Prime Minister make it clear that in no circumstances will she permit Britain to be dragged into facilitating that torture, as we were after 11 September?” Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie asked May on Wednesday.
In reply, May said: “I assure my right honourable friend that our position on torture is clear — we do not sanction torture and do not get involved in it. That will continue to be our position.”
However, a spokesperson for the prime minister today refused to rule out UK security services extraditing suspects to the US, or receiving intelligence from the US that had been obtained from torture.
Asked whether the PM would rule out accepting US intelligence which had been gleaned from torture, he replied that: “I’m not going to go into debate about security services and how they work.”
Pushed on whether the UK would continue to allow suspects to be extradited to the US if there was a risk they could be tortured, he replied:
“On the issue of torture I don’t have anything to add to what I have already said. Our position on torture is very clear.”
“We do not condone torture or inhumane treatment in any form.”
The prime minister will address Republican congressional leaders at an event on Thursday before travelling to meet with Trump on Friday. Their discussions are expected to concentrate on the two countries’ future trading relationships.
However, a spokesperson for the PM said they would also not hesitate to state her disagreement with the president on other issues.
“The nature of our relationship is very strong which means that we can be clear where we disagree,” they said.
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