2000-2009 | Iraq | Renditions | Torture

British forces in Iraq implicated in US rendition and torture of detainees

A protest against rendition.
Elvert Barnes - CC BY-SA 2.0 - via Flickr.
A protest against rendition.
Elvert Barnes – CC BY-SA 2.0 – via Flickr.

25 February 2008

On 25 February 2008, former SAS soldier Ben Griffin revealed, during a conference hosted by the Stop the War Coalition, that he had been ordered to detain Iraqis who were then handed over to the Americans to be illegally rendered and subsequently subjected to torture. ‘Throughout my time in Iraq,’ he explained, ‘I was in no doubt that individuals detained by UKSF (United Kingdom Special Forces) and handed over to our American colleagues would be tortured.’1

Commenting on the British government’s earlier admission that Diego Garcia had been used as a fueling stop over for American rendition flights, he remarked that this illegal use of British territory ‘pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of extraordinary rendition in the first place.’2 Griffin recalled that all the detentions had been carried out without placing the detainees under arrest, and he believed this was a deliberate policy designed to avoid any legal responsibility for what subsequently happened to them.  His allegation was later given added credibility by evidence given to the Australian senate, which indicated that Australian forces in Iraq had also avoided formally arresting Iraqis they had detained, and instead handed such powers to US personnel.3

See also 28.02.2008 – High Court silences rendition and torture claims by former SAS soldier.


  1. Ben Griffin quoted in Andrew Tyrie MP, Roger Gough and Stuart McCracken (2011), “Account Tendered: Extraordinary Rendition and Britain’s Role,” Biteback Publishing Ltd., London p. 78.
  2. Richard Norton-Taylor, “Court gags ex-SAS man who made torture claims,” The Guardian, 29 February 2008 accessed online at https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/feb/29/military.law
  3. Andrew Tyrie MP, Roger Gough and Stuart McCracken, Ibid p. 78.

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