Belhaj case: full judicial investigation into United Kingdom involvement in torture now needed


Britain has reached a settlement with Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a Libyan former rebel leader who says he suffered years of torture by Muammar Gaddafi's henchmen after British and USA spies handed him over to Libya, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Boudchar will receive £500,000 (570,000 euros, $670,000) compensation, but Belhaj did not seek any financial settlement, only an apology.

Mr Belhaj was abducted along with his wife, placed in a Central Intelligence Agency prison in Bangkok, where he says he was tortured and then "rendered" to Tripoli in March 2004.

The British government accepted the couple "were subjected to a harrowing ordeal which caused them significant distress", and said that it had reached "a full and final settlement" with them both. Other nations are alleged to have lent assistance in some cases.

"The UK government believes your account, neither of you should have been treated in this way".

"The U.K. government's actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering", the letter said.

While the Saadi family received a £2m ($2.5m) settlement two years ago, Belhaj insisted he only wanted an apology and a symbolic £1 ($1.24) payment from each of the defendants.

As a long-standing enemy of the former Libyan leader, he was imprisoned and tortured until his release in 2010 while his wife was also mistreated during her four-month incarceration.

"I thank the British government for its apology".

"I thank the British government for its apology and for inviting me and my son to the United Kingdom to hear it".

Who is Abdul Hakim Belhaj?

The case came to light after the fall of Tripoli in 2011, when faxes from Mark Allen, MI6's then-counterterrorism director, describing the rendition flights were found in the ransacked office of Moussa Koussa, Libya's head of intelligence.

He became an opponent of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi and commanded the now defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which staged a low-level insurgency war and attempted to assassinate Col Gaddafi three times.

Mrs May said the United Kingdom "should have done more to reduce the risk" of the pair being mistreated, adding: "We accept this was a failing on our part".