|The Daily Telegraph today reports that the former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the former MI6 head of counter-terrorism, Sir Mark Allen, could face legal action within a month on charges of complicity in the rendition and torture of Libyan dissidents Sami al-Saadi and Abdel Hakim Belhadj.|
From the Daily Telegraph:
“The former Foreign Secretary, and Mark Allen, the former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, have been accused of being complicit in the return of Sami al-Saadi and Abdel Hakim Belhadj, leading to their alleged torture and incarceration.
“Legal action could see intelligence agencies including MI6 and MI5 brought to court to answer questions over allegations of illegal rendition.
“Earlier this year, Mr Belhadj, 45, launched civil proceedings for compensation after claiming he was taken from Thailand to Libya by the CIA in 2004.
“He was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which opposed Gaddafi's regime.
“Mr al-Saadi, 46, claims he was interrogated by a man and a woman from Britain while in detention at around the same time. He had been travelling to Hong Kong from China, believing he would be able to return to Britain, where he had lived since the 1990s.
“"There were different types of torture — the emotional, the physical, the electrocution, the insults, the humiliation, the threats,” he said. “The worst moment for me was to feel that the criminals who were running the Libyan government... were accusing an innocent person like me of being involved in terrorism when they were the ones doing the terrorism."
“Sapna Malik, a partner at solicitors Leigh Day, which is representing the families, told the Times her clients would issue proceedings at the High Court within the next four weeks."
Malik has stated that, “The prime motive is for accountability, to hold the Government to account in a public court for the alleged wrongdoings. We would hope, and expect, Jack Straw and Mark Allen to attend court and answer the allegations in the witness box.”
Critics have argued that the embarrassment caused by these cases, and a whole host of other cases brought against the government alleging complicity in torture, are the main driving forces behind government proposals to extend the mandate for secret trials. The director of human rights campaign group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, has described the proposals as a “shameless attempt to cover up abuses of power”.
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