A Libyan man could succeed in suing the UK government, who allegedly sent him back to Libya where he was later tortured.
Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, now a Libyan politician, told The Court of Appeals that former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and MI6 were ‘complicit’ in his arrest at Bangkok Airport in 2004.
Secret documents discovered after Gaddafi’s death suggest that the British Government had been involved in Belhaj’s arrest, and return to Libya where he claims he was tortured while in prison, for opposing Gaddafi’s regime. The documents include a letter from MI6’s former head of terrorism Sir Mark Allen to Gaddafi’s head of intelligence Musa Kusa congratulating them on Belhaj’s arrest. It read:
“Most importantly, I congratulate you on the safe arrival of Abu Abd Allah Sadiq [Mr Belhaj].
This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over the years.”
The High Court initially ruled that the case could not be heard in the UK as it may ‘damage foreign relations’ however the Court of Appeals has now overturned this decision with Lady Justice Sharp saying:
“Their conduct, considered in isolation, would not normally be exempt from investigation by the courts.
“On the contrary there is a compelling public interest in the investigation by the English courts of these very grave allegations.”
Belhaj also claims that while in China he was held by US intelligence, who also tortured him and chained his then pregnant wife to a wall.
“Our part of the ‘deal in the desert’ – the kidnap, the secret CIA jail, the torture chamber in Tripoli – is as fresh and as painful for us as if it happened yesterday,” Belhaj stated.
“We never dreamed Britain would have conspired in such a thing until we saw the proof with our own eyes, right there in Musa Kusa’s dusty binders.
“We look forward to a full public trial and pray the truth will finally come out.”