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US asked Britain about transferring prisoner via Britain
Updated: 2006-02-07 08:51

US intelligence officials asked their British counterparts about whether they could transfer a prisoner through British territory but then dropped the idea, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. 

"I should point out that in 2004, US intelligence officials made a preliminary enquiry of their UK counterparts in respect of a wish they had to transfer a detainee via one of the Overseas Territories," Straw said.

"But the US authorities decided subsequently not to pursue this idea and made no formal request for such a transfer," Straw said.

"We reported this to the Intelligence and Security Committee shortly afterwards in June 2004," Straw said in a letter.

Straw was replying to a question from William Hague, the opposition Conservative party's foreign affairs spokesman who wrote last month raising questions over the policy of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects to overseas locations.

The United States is accused of flying terror suspects to countries where they could be tortured.

The Guardian newspaper reported in September last year that 210 flights had transited the United Kingdom since 2001.

In January, the New Statesman weekly published an official memo showing the government did not know for sure if the Central Intelligence Agency had used British territory for the suspected transfers.

The British government has said that until now it has received only four requests, all of them in 1998, and two of which were turned down.

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