British military interrogators are being trained in techniques including sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness to provoke humiliation and fear in prisoners they are questioning, it has been claimed.
Secret training materials tell interrogators they should aim to make prisoners feel insecure, disorientated, exhausted and anxious, the Guardian reported.
The newspaper said it had obtained training materials including a PowerPoint aid created in September 2005, which tells trainee interrogators that prisoners should be stripped before being questioned, saying: “Get them naked. Keep them naked if they do not follow commands.”
It said a manual prepared in April 2008 also urges enforced nakedness and suggests that “Cpers”, or captured personnel, be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated.
More recent training material says while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours a day, they need be permitted only four hours of unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions.
The 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit “physical or moral coercion” techniques in interrogations as well as the humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees.
The classified training material was reportedly all produced after the death of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist, who died in custody in September 2003 after suffering 93 separate injuries.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The Baha Mousa inquiry is examining in detail the MoD’s current detention practices, including the training of tactical questioning and interrogation and the MoD has given evidence on this subject.
“This evidence is a matter of public record and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further outside that forum. We are committed to learning all possible lessons from the inquiry and are giving it our full support.”
The Guardian said courses were run by interrogators operating within a military unit known as F Branch, part of the Joint Services Intelligence Organisation (Jsio), at the Jsio’s Bedfordshire headquarters. The material advises interrogators to find a discreet place to conduct interrogations, preferably somewhere that looks “nasty”, such as a shipping container which is “out of hearing” and “away from media”.