High Court to hear Libya rendition case
29 June 2012
Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is being challenged in the High Court to reveal the UK's role in the rendition of two Libyan dissidents to the Gaddafi regime in 2004, it has been announced.
Straw, the former MI6 director of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen and the current government are being challenged to reveal if the UK aided the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Sami al Saadi, who were both living in exile in East Asia when they were detained and flown to Gaddafi's Libya.
Both men, their wives and al-Saadi's four young children were detained and sent to Libya, allegedly with the help of UK security services.
Belhadj claimed he was hung from a wall and tortured by Libyan intelligence services over his connections to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which opposed the Gaddafi regime. He was released by the regime in 2010 and went on to head the Tripoli Military Council after Gaddafi was deposed in the 2011 civil war.
The case centres around papers said to have been found in the office of former Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa during the fall of Tripoli last year. The papers, said to have been signed by Sir Mark, suggest the UK provided intelligence on Belhadj's location while the US Central Intelligence Agency carried out the 'delivery'.
Solicitors Leigh Day & Co had contacted the government, Straw and Sir Mark before launching the legal action but described the response as "insufficient".
Sapna Malik, partner at Leigh Day & Co, said: "It is extraordinary that in light of such clear evidence of the involvement of the British government, in what we believe was illegal activity, they have chosen the stock response of neither confirming nor denying their complicity.
"Following this insufficient response to our clients' request we have now issued formal legal proceedings against both Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen in the High Court.
"We can't help but make the link between our client's cases and the current obsession by this government on closed trials which offend the fundamental principles of justice in this country and would succeed in hiding the truth behind these allegations and similar accusations of illegal activity by the security services on the instruction of politicians."