World Media

UK apologises 'unreservedly' for role in Libyans' kidnapping

UK apologises 'unreservedly' for role in Libyans' kidnapping

A Libyan dissident whom United Kingdom spies helped capture and hand over for torture in Muammar Gaddafi's prisons was pleased to receive an unprecedented apology from Britain, his lawyer told Sputnik.

Belhaj and his wife were seized in Bangkok in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA operation that led to their secret rendition to Tripoli where they were tortured by Muammar Gadaffi's security forces.

The Gaddafi opponent fled Libya before he and his wife were snatched in Malaysia and taken back by Central Intelligence Agency agents in 2004 after an MI6 tip-off.

So desperate was the British government to prevent further details of Belhaj's rendition from being disclosed that they said that British courts could not hear the case because it involved agents of foreign powers, a reference to the CIA's role in the operation.

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Aishwarya is the granddaughter of former chief minister Daroga Rai and daughter of former minister and six-time MLA Chandrika Rai. However, he is expected to seek permission from the courts to allow him to attend the wedding.

Boudchar, who after her rendition was detained in Libya until shortly before giving birth, was in the public gallery in parliament in London with her son to hear Britain's attorney general make a statement about the case. Belhaj has said he will settle for £1, but insists he and his wife also receive an apology.

The settlement includes the withdrawal of claims against the British government, former foreign secretary Jack Straw, and former MI6 head of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen, said Mr Wright.

Mr Belhaj then spent nearly 7 years in prison, where he claims he was tortured in, and that then UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw authorised the move.

But her husband was held for six years and tortured. "We accept this was a failing on our part", Wright further added. Belhaj was given a copy of May's letter by Britain's ambassador to Turkey in Istanbul, where the family now lives. Both will also receive a personal letter of apology from Theresa May.

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Reacting to the apology, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj said: "I welcome and accept the Prime Minister's apology, and I extend to her and the Attorney General my thanks and goodwill. But by today's settlement I look forward to rebuilding my life with dignity and honour, and living free from the weight of these events with my husband and our five lovely children".

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Boudchar said she was chained to a wall and tortured by the Central Intelligence Agency when she was pregnant while being detained at a secret site in Thailand.

But Gaddafi became a close friend of then-prime minister Tony Blair's Labour government, promising to give up developing chemical and nuclear weapons in 2003, with British oil companies also picking up lucrative oil contracts in Libya.

After Gadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011, documents were discovered that disclosed the cozy working ties between Gadhafi's spies and Western intelligence officials. We should have understood much sooner the unacceptable practices of some of our worldwide partners.

Facebook Reshuffles Leaders After Cambridge Analytica Scandal
It's thought the changes were also made to improve protection of user privacy in light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal . Messenger and WhatsApp each has more than 1 billion users, making them among the most widely used smartphone apps globally.

"The government has enacted reforms to ensure that the problems of the past will not be repeated", Wright said.


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