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Anti-Gadafi Leader Sues UK Over Rendition

Anti-Gadafi Leader Sues UK Over Rendition

 

The Libyan military leader who led the assault on Tripoli has begun legal proceedings against the British government, Sky News has learned.

Abdul Hakim Belhadj has accused the British security services of complicity in his rendition back to Libya during the days of ousted leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ‘s regime.

Sky News understands that Mr Belhadj is now suing the British government.

He is demanding a public apology, and an admission of acknowledgement that he had no links to al Qaeda and that his group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), were focused only on getting rid of Gaddafi’s regime.

Mr Belhadj also wants an acknowledgement of regret by the British government that he and his wife were tortured at the hands of the Americans and the Libyans.

And he wants the Metropolitan Police to investigate MI6 officers who he alleges were complicit in his rendition.

Mr Belhadj claims he and his wife were detained in Thailand as they attempted to fly to the UK in 2004.

He says he was on a flight bound for London from Kuala Lumpur when Libyan and US agents, acting on a tip-off from MI6, arranged for him to be put on a CIA aircraft during a scheduled stop in Bangkok.

He then claims he was transferred to Libya via the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia.

During his time in Tripoli, Mr Belhadj alleges he was regularly tortured by Libyan security agents. He says he was savagely beaten, deprived of sleep to the point of delirium and hung from walls.

He says access to his family was cut off and he was moved to a tiny cell by the Libyans where he was not allowed to bathe for three years and was deprived of natural light for extensive periods. He recalls not seeing the sun for a whole year during this time.

During the initial part of his detention at Tajoura Prison he says he was interrogated by a number of foreign agents including those from the UK.

He was then put ‘on trial’ in Tripoli – an event which he says lasted for about 15 minutes – and accused of waging an armed insurrection against Gaddafi.

He was later transferred to the notorious Abu Salim prison and sentenced to death.

The prison was operated by Libya’s internal security organisation and was the site of a well-known prison massacre in 1996. He says his initial time in Abu Salim was spent in isolation, again without contact with other detainees and without natural light.

Facing the prospect of a pending death sentence Mr Belhadj and other leading LIFG members agreed to participate in what was termed the “de-radicalisation and reconciliation process” initiated by Gaddafi’s son Saif al Islam.

Mr Belhadj was eventually released from detention in March 2010.

Details of MI6’s alleged role were contained in a cache of documents found in the offices of Moussa Kussa, the former head of the foreign ministry.

Source: Sky News

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