The BBC has revealed evidence of a letter confirming the part the British government played in the rendition of Libyan Islamic extremist Abdel Hakim Belhaj, to Libya, where he alleges he was tortured in a Gaddafi prison.
According to the BBC a letter from an MI6 officer refers to Belhaj's rendition, as it "congratulates the Libyans on the 'safe arrival' of the 'air cargo'". The letter was sent from senior MI6 officer, Sir Mark Allen, to Gaddafi's intelligence chief, Musa Kusa, in 2004. At the time Belhaj was leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which was listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
Jack Straw, British Foreign Minister at the time, denied any involvement in Belhaj's rendition last year. He said "We were opposed to unlawful rendition. We were opposed to any use of torture or similar methods. Not only did we not agree with it, we were not complicit in it and nor did we turn a blind eye to it." However, he admitted that the government is not necessarily aware of "all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time."The letter spells bad news for the British government which is the subject of a law suit issued by Belhaj. Digital Journalreported Belhaj is suing the government for £1 million over his rendition to Libya, in spite of the assistance the British offered in providing air power to support the Libyan rebels in their quest to overthrow Gaddafi. There is no evidence to suggest he is suing the U.S. which he also alleges was complicit in his rendition.
Since the lawsuit was announced there has been little news of Belhaj who was appointed as Military Commander of Tripol following the downfall of Col Gaddafi. The latest reports revealed that he was on the Turkish-Syrian border to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army. In JanuaryDigital Journal reported Belhaj was leading an army of Wahhabi fighters funded by Qatar, "which comprise 1,000 members of LIFG and 1,000 operatives of the Ansar al-Sunna, the Iraqi Islamists."
In spite of Belhaj's demands for justice and financial compensation from the British over his rendition, Libya's interim National Transitional Council has yet to press charges against Belhaj for alleged crimes against humanity committed by rebel troops under his command during the Libyan civil war.