Aiding & abetting torture? Case of Abdul Hakim Belhaj

One of the most controversial claims of rendition involving the UK comes before the Supreme Court later. The case, involving allegations against ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and an ex-MI6 chief, prompted an unprecedented battle over whether it can even begin. Former Libyan dissident Abdul Hakim Belhaj says MI6 helped arrange his and his wife’s rendition in 2004. The Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether or not the couple can sue the government. Police have investigated the claims but the Crown Prosecution Service is yet to announce its charging decision. Mr Belhaj, a former Islamist fighter who opposed the Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, says he was seized by US forces alongside his wife, Fatima Boudchar, in 2004 as they tried to fly from Asia to the UK to seek asylum…

The couple were taken from Thailand to Libya – and they were immediately imprisoned. Mrs Boudchar, then pregnant, says she was abused in prison and feared she would lose her baby before she was released three months later. Mr Belhaj has told British courts he was beaten, subjected to other abuses and, separately, interviewed by British intelligence officers. The regime sentenced him to death, but he was eventually released in March 2010. During the later fall of Gaddafi, papers uncovered in Tripoli revealed MI6’s former head of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen had sent his congratulations to the Libyan regime for the “safe arrival” of Mr Belhaj.’ click  here.

Further reading: Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail, 7th November 2015, ‘Are we finally to learn the truth about Britain and torture?’