CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – TERRORIST PRISONERS – 21 January 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: I congratulate the Minister [Ben Bradshaw] on his statement and on the answers that he has given. Does he accept that al-Qaeda is still out there, plotting further outrages? If so, does he accept that information gleaned from the interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners will be essential for the prevention of such outrages? If so, does he further accept that it would be absolute madness to accord the protection of the Geneva Convention to people who are not regular forces, allowing them to answer only name, rank and number? Finally, does he accept that when these people are brought to trial, we must avoid what happened after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centre, when important secrets were revealed in a civilian court that led bin Laden to know that his telephones were being listened to and may well have contributed to the success of the attacks on 11 September?

[Mr Bradshaw: The hon. Gentleman is right to make the point that if too much information is revealed, there is always a danger that other people's lives and security will be put at risk. He is also right to say that many of the people currently detained may have a great deal of useful information that could prevent horrific events such as those of 11 September from being perpetrated again. As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, through the information that we have gathered in Afghanistan, we already know much more about the nature of al-Qaeda and its intentions than we did two or three months ago. We have every reason to believe that we have already foiled a number of potentially fatal operations, including one in Singapore recently, as a result of that information.]