May apology to Libya rendition victim as United Kingdom settles £500k case

  • May apology to Libya rendition victim as United Kingdom settles £500k case

May apology to Libya rendition victim as United Kingdom settles £500k case

The UK government has issued an "unreserved" apology and awarded £500,000 ($676,000) to Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, in compensation for the British security services' involvement in their extraordinary rendition to the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The Gaddafi opponent fled Libya before he and his wife were snatched in Malaysia and taken back by Central Intelligence Agency agents in 2004 after an MI6 tip-off. Boudchar and her son Abderrahim will be present.

Ms Boudchar, who was five months pregnant at the time, was released shortly before giving birth, but her husband was held in prison and tortured for six years.

"The Metropolitan Police submitted a comprehensive file of evidence (in excess of 28,000 pages) to the Crown Prosecution Service seeking to demonstrate that the conduct of a British official amounted to Misconduct in Public Office", Khan said.

They have spent years pursuing British officials through United Kingdom courts seeking compensation and an apology.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright told the House of Commons that Prime Minister Theresa May has written to Mr Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar to apologise for the "appalling" treatment they received. Mr Belhaj described to apology as "courageous".

Wright said the settlement contained no admission of liability. It says that the couple's "harrowing experiences...[are] deeply troubling", and that the UK Government "believes [their] accounts" of their abduction and torture.

"The UK Government's actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering".

"The U.K. government shared information about you with its worldwide partners. We accept this was a failing on our part".

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, after the settlement was announced, Belhaj said: "I welcome and accept the prime minister's apology, and I extend to her and the attorney general my thanks and goodwill". Both will also receive a personal letter of apology from Theresa May. "But by today's settlement I look forward to rebuilding my life with dignity and honor".

The case might also cause waves across the Atlantic, and a shine a light on Donald Trump's nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel, who is facing questions about her role running alleged rendition programmes after 9/11.

Haspel, a 33-year Central Intelligence Agency veteran, is believed to have run a Central Intelligence Agency "black site" in Thailand in the early 2000s.

While this brings the legal case to an end, The Daily Telegraph reports MPs are demanding Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time, apologise for his part in the decision.

Wright told lawmakers that in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Britain and its global partners "were suddenly adapting to a completely new type and scale of threat".

The prime minister added that "we should have understood sooner the unacceptable practices of some of our global partners".