Craig Murray said that information extracted from prisoners tortured in the central Asian republic’s jails was being passed on via the United States’ CIA to MI6, the secret intelligence service. As well as denouncing the use of such material as morally and legally wrong, Mr Murray warned that information gathered in this way was unlikely to be reliable, as victims would say whatever they thought their tormentors wanted to hear.
"Tortured dupes are forced to sign confessions showing what the Uzbek Government wants the US and UK to believe – that they and we are fighting the same war against terror. This is morally, legally and practically wrong..."
Craig Murray, the UK's ambassador to Uzbekistan
"We are selling our souls for dross," he wrote in the confidential Foreign Office report seen by the Financial Times.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman yesterday declined to confirm whether the leaked document was genuine. She said that Britain never used torture to obtain information and did not incite others to do so. But she added that it would be "irresponsible" to dismiss intelligence from outside sources which might have a bearing on terrorist threats.
Mr Murray, a former student at Dundee University, caused a stir by speaking out publicly in 2002 about "brutality" in Uzbek jails, highlighting the case of two men who were boiled to death.
The leaked report was compiled in response to an inter-departmental meeting in London this July on the use of intelligence from Uzbekistan, which lies to the north of Afghanistan and has experienced problems of its own from Islamic militants.
Mr Murray - who was not invited to the meeting - alleged that the country’s hard-line president, Islam Karimov, was seeking to portray his government’s suppression of Islamic militants as part of the global war against terror.
The FT quoted Mr Murray’s report as warning: "Tortured dupes are forced to sign confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe - that they and we are fighting the same war against terror. This is morally, legally and practically wrong."
Intelligence officers had argued that, as they did not know the precise source of the information they received, they could not establish whether the individual involved had been tortured or not, Mr Murray wrote.
"I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work for an organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture," he said.
Of the hundreds of cases of political and religious prisoners he had examined in Uzbekistan, few had not involved the use of torture, he said.