| ||New details have emerged of alleged British complicity in the rendition and torture of a Libyan dissident Abu Munthir al-Saadi and his family, after his daughter spoke openly about being forcibly taken to Libya and held in a prison with her family whilst her father was tortured. |
The wife and children of al-Saadi, who were aged between six and twelve at the time, are suing the British government and security services over their role in the abduction and detention of the family.
From The Guardian,
“The Saadi family had been living in exile in China, and travelled to Hong Kong after approaching MI5 via an intermediary to ask whether they would be allowed to return to London, where they lived for a number of years in the 1990s. They were under the impression they were to be interviewed by British diplomats in Hong Kong. Instead they were detained by border guards, held for several days, and then forced aboard an Egyptian airliner.”
Khadija al-Saadi, al-Saadi’s daughter now 19 years old, details how the children were separated from their parents and not allowed to talk or play.
“I thought that my mother and father were going to be tortured and that we would all be killed. Then I was told to go and say goodbye to my father. He was handcuffed to a seat in another compartment and had a drip in his arm. One of the Libyan intelligence officers was laughing at me. I fainted."
Saadi’s wife and children were release from detention after two and a half months, however their father “remained imprisoned for six years”.
The family’s solicitor told The Guardian,”They were only victims of Gaddafi because of the complicity of the Blair government. At this time it is particularly important that the British government deals with it own role in these events and apologises immediately and unreservedly to Khadija and the rest of her family."
Meanwhile, secret documents obtained at the abandoned residence of the British ambassador to Tripoli reveal the concerns of British security services that the capture and rendition of al-Saadi and Abdul Hakim Belhadj, “strengthened al-Qaida and helped groups attacking British forces in Iraq.” Both men were leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
“British intelligence believe the pair's rendition boosted al-Qaida by removing more moderate elements from the insurgency's leadership. This allowed extremists to push "a relatively close-knit group" focused on overthrowing Gaddafi into joining the pan-Islamist terror network.”
Belhadj claims that he was tortured with the knowledge of British officials and is, like al-Saadi, taking legal action against the government for their complicity in his rendition and torture.
Both cases are the latest in a string of cases where people claim that the British security services were complicit in their torture abroad. In August, the government was forced to pay out £12 million in compensation to the former detainees of Guantanamo Bay for its role in their torture and mistreatment when detained at the prison camp.
Moreover, the concern that the rendition of al-Saadi and Belhadj ‘boosted al-Qaida’ exposes the immoral flipside of the UK’s role in the ‘war on terror’. The counter-productive nature of the strategies used have returned to haunt western governments as legal challenges mount up, to say nothing of the damage done to the reputation and moral standing of Britain both at home and abroad.
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