Revealed: UK wartime torture camp
The British government operated a secret torture centre during the second world war to extract information and confessions from German prisoners, according to official papers which have been unearthed by the Guardian. More than 3,000 prisoners passed through the centre, where many were systematically beaten, deprived of sleep, forced to stand still for more than 24 hours at a time and threatened with execution or unnecessary surgery.
Some are also alleged to have been starved and subjected to extremes of temperature in specially built showers, while others later complained that they had been threatened with electric shock torture or menaced by interrogators brandishing red-hot pokers.
The centre, which was housed in a row of mansions in one of London's most affluent neighbourhoods, was carefully concealed from the Red Cross, the papers show. It continued to operate for three years after the war, during which time a number of German civilians were also tortured.
A subsequent assessment by MI5, the Security Service, concluded that the commanding officer had been guilty of "clear breaches" of the Geneva convention and that some interrogation methods "completely contradicted" international law.
See also: The secrets of the London Cage.
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