Washington told of India’s use of torture

US diplomats in New Delhi were told by the Red Cross about the use of torture on detainees in Kashmir by Indian security forces, newly released cables show.

Electrocutions, beatings and sexual humiliation of hundreds of detainees were detailed in cables from 2005, The Guardian of Britain reported, and in 2007 US diplomats were still concerned that Indian security forces relied on torture for confessions.

The cable’s release comes at a sensitive time, after months of protests and violence in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has conveyed her regret to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev over leaked cables that compared him to a mafia boss.

In a phone call, Mrs Clinton “reiterated to Mr Aliyev that the US relationship with Azerbaijan remains strong”, spokesman Philip Crowley said.

Mr Aliyev “simply indicated he did not think that the alleged cables would affect our long-term relationship”.

The memo said the Azerbaijani President had created a patronage network and strong-armed political opponents.

“The Aliyev administration has developed ‘an organised crime’ image in some quarters, leading some analysts to see Ilham Aliyev at times in a mafia-like role,” the US cable said.

Mr Aliyev’s office has previously described the release of the cables by WikiLeaks as an “open provocation”.

US Vice-President Joe Biden said there had been no serious damage to US foreign policy from the WikiLeaks releases, merely embarrassment. “I don’t think there is any substantive damage, no,” Mr Biden told MSNBC.

“Some of the cables that are coming out here and around the world are embarrassing.

“But nothing . . . that goes to the essence of a relationship that will allow another nation to say ‘They lied, we don’t trust them, they really aren’t dealing fairly with us’.”

Meanwhile Grace Mugabe, wife of the Zimbabwean president, has filed a $US15 million ($15.1m) lawsuit against the Zimbabwe Standard for reporting on a WikiLeaks cable in which former US ambassador James McGee alleged that Mrs Mugabe and central bank governor Gideon Gono “reaped tremendous profits” from corruption and illegal diamond deals.

She described the accusations as “false, scandalous, malicious, wrongful and defamatory”.

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