Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the Islamist military commander of Tripoli who enjoyed the backing of Britain, the U.S. and NATO, during the civil war to oust Muammar Gaddafi, is to sue the British government. Belhadj wants financial compensation that could cost the British one million pounds, over British involvement in his rendition to Libya during the Gaddafi regime.
Belhadj, the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which operated with the intent of overthrowing Col. Gaddafi and establishing Libya as a caliphate state under sharia law, spent time fighting in Afghanistan. Digital Journal
reported that Belhadj worked with Osama bin-Laden's second in command, Ayman-al Zawaturi, but was imprisoned in Libya during the time LIFG formally allied itself to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The U.S. listed Belhadj as one of its most wanted terrorists, and Belhadj accuses the U.S., along with Britain, of being complicit is his rendition to Libya where he alleges he was tortured. He has accused foreign agents, some British, of interrogating him whilst in Libyan prisons. Belhadj is now demanding that Britian acknowledges that he had no links to al Qaeda.(Sky News
, the U.K.organisation that investigates and litigates on behalf of prisoners, reports that Belhadj has instructed law firm Leigh Day & Co to take legal action against the U.K. government. Fatima Bouchar, wife of Belhadj, is also part of the law suit against Britain as she was also returned to Libya and alleges mistreatment.
The Legal Director of Reprieve, Cori Crider, states that Belhadj would have settled for an apology from the British government and only resorted to legal action as the government ignored his requests for a public apology. Crider said
"Whilst obviously grateful for the role that the present government and NATO have played in liberating Libya from the shackles of Gaddafi, our clients want those responsible for the wrongs done to them, and other Libyans, in the past be held to account and the truth to come out, so that the new Libya can finally turn the page.”
Evidence was found during the fall of Tripoli that Britain, and the C.I.A., was indeed involved in the rendition of Belhadj. At the time Col. Gaddafi was co-operating in the fight against terrorism and the threat posed by LIFG was all too real. Gaddafi was earnest in his constant efforts to contain the threat of Islamic extremism within Libya and the region.
The new Libyan government has issued warnings about secret arms supplies
and cash believed to be emanating from Qatar into the hands of Belhadj. The Libyan government has failed to take any action over alleged human rights abuses committed by rebel forces under the command of Belhadj, who is also considered to be involved in the murder of rival military leader General Younis. Many consider Belhadj a dangerous threat within Libya and even a possible ruler if Islamic support gains ground prior to official elections.