BRITISH victims of torture yesterday called on the Government to ensure that information extracted by abuse of prisoners is not used in UK courts.
Les Walker and Bill Sampson joined leaders of human rights organisations outside the Houses of Parliament to sign a petition urging the Government to end complicity in torture.
The protest came as Law Lords began deliberations inside Parliament on whether evidence obtained by torture abroad can be used in immigration cases in the UK.
Human rights groups and lawyers are challenging a 2004 Appeal Court ruling that the Home Office is entitled to use such information to back up its claims that individuals pose a threat to national security, so long as British agents were not involved in carrying out or soliciting the torture.
Mr Walker, 59, from Neston, said he cracked after being told by Saudi interrogators that his wife would be brought into a neighbouring cell so he could hear her being abused.
He said he was appalled that the British authorities were willing to use evidence apparently obtained by torture to back up their case for the deportation of 10 men who were held without charge following the September 11 attacks in the US.
"They are going back to the Inquisition," he said. "If they allow this, then they are condoning torture.
"I want them to say firmly that torture is wrong and that they will not accept any evidence in any court case that is obtained under torture, but will instead put the torturers in the dock."
Speaking outside Parliament, Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "This is a momentous case. The UK is at an important crossroads "It can reaffirm its stand against torture, which is absolutely banned, or slide towards illegality by its tacit acceptance that torture is sometimes OK.
"Failing to rule out the use of any torture evidence in UK proceedings would give a green light to torturers the world over."
Dr Sampson, 46, who has dual British and Canadian nationality and lives in Penrith, Cumbria, said that he suffered beatings, sleep deprivation and sexual molestation during 964 days in solitary confinement in Saudi Arabia after being arrested on trumped-up charges of terrorism and spying.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said: "Torture is unreliable. Torture is wrong.
"If we are complicit in any way in torture around the world, what will we say to the terrorists who tortured Ken Bigley?
"What will we say to dictators like Saddam Hussein?
"This is the one absolute in democracy, that you do not touch torture."