Kidnapped for Gadaffi's jails
MI6 linked to rendition of woman and four children, but there will be no prosecution of those responsible
BRITAIN’S shameful role in the kidnap and torture of two Gadaffi opponents and a subsequent cover-up has been exposed — but no-one will face charges, prosecutors said yesterday.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is investigating the “rendition” of two families to Libya by MI6 and the CIA, reported that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation.
But even though officials and politicians have admitted British involvement in the operation, which saw a pregnant woman and four children kidnapped and rendered to Libya in 2004, the CPS claims there is “insufficient evidence” to bring charges.
The government has said it will examine the case as part of its inquiry into detainee treatment and rendition, however.
Sami al-Saadi and Abdul-Hakim Belhaj were both prominent Gadaffi opponents who had been living with their families in exile. They suffered years of torture after their forced return.
Mr Belhaj’s wife, Fatima Boudchar, despite being pregnant at the time of the rendition, was chained to a wall in a secret CIA prison in Bangkok before being tied to a stretcher for the 17-hour flight to Libya.
One of Mr Saadi’s children, Khadija, who was just 12 at the time, said she was so terrified during the kidnap that she passed out.
Evidence of Britain’s role in the operation emerged after the fall of the Gadaffi regime in 2011.
Documents discovered in the office of his spy chief Moussa Koussa were found to include correspondence from senior MI6 officer Sir Mark Allen in which he took credit for the intelligence behind the operation.
Both Tony Blair and then foreign secretary Jack Straw, who was responsible for MI6 at the time, have denied knowledge of the operation.
The decision raises serious questions about the impartiality of the CPS, human rights group Reprieve said yesterday.
Reprieve’s Cori Crider said: “With today’s official acknowledgement that British officials were involved in this rendition, the fig leaf of official secrecy in this case is in tatters.
“There is one crucial question: who knew who was on those planes, and for those who knew, what possible reason can there be for them to evade justice?
“Top British officials helped abduct a pregnant woman and four children, and so far, we have no apology, no explanation, and now no-one held responsible.”
She said that, despite the wealth of evidence, “the CPS’s attitude to all this is ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil’.”
Commenting on the government’s inquiry, intelligence and security committee chairman Dominic Grieve said: “I cannot pre-judge the outcome of our investigation: this is a wide-ranging and detailed inquiry and I expect it to continue for some time.”
Source: Morning Star