Monday 5 September 2011

Libya rendition claims: David Cameron calls for inquiry


Allegations that MI6 was involved in the rendition of Libyan terror suspects should be examined by an independent inquiry, David Cameron has said. It comes after papers suggesting close ties between MI6, the CIA and the Gaddafi regime were found in Tripoli. An anti-Gaddafi military leader says he wants the UK and US to apologise for organising his 2004 transfer to Libya. An existing inquiry into allegations of UK security agencies' involvement in torture has said it will investigate. Abdel Hakim Belhaj, then a terror suspect but now in charge of the Libyan capital's military forces, says he was tortured after being arrested in Bangkok. He says he was taken to Libya by a CIA and MI6 operation, allegedly confirmed by documents sent to Gaddafi's regime, and sent to prison. The Foreign Office said the government had a "long-standing policy" not to comment on intelligence matters. Mr Belhaj told the BBC: "What happened to me and my family is illegal. It deserves an apology. And for what happened to me when I was captured and tortured. "For all these illegal things, starting with the information given to Libyan security, the interrogation in Bangkok." According to the Guardian, these documents were discovered in an abandoned office building in Tripoli by staff from Human Rights Watch. Mr Belhaj said that MI6 and the CIA did not witness his torture at the hands of the former Libyan regime, but did interview him afterwards. A spokesman for the prime minister said that the existing Detainee Inquiry into rendition was "well placed" to investigate the allegations reported in recent days. "It's not clear precisely what the allegations amount to," the spokesman added. "We don't have a clear picture from these documents, which is precisely why an inquiry like the [Detainee] inquiry might be well placed to consider the issue." A statement from the Detainee Inquiry, to be chaired by Sir Peter Gibson, said that as part of its role of examining the extent of the government's involvement in, or awareness of, improper treatment of detainees, it would "therefore, of course, be considering these allegations of UK involvement in rendition to Libya as part of our work. "We will be seeking more information from government and its agencies as soon as possible."