Former Libyan insurgent Abdul Hakim Belhaj torture and illegal rendition appeal against UK Government to be heard today - Crime - UK - The Independent

Former Libyan insurgent Abdul Hakim Belhaj torture and illegal rendition appeal against UK Government to be heard today

Belhaj alleges that he and his wife were unlawfully abducted and taken back to face Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in a conspiracy involving British authorities

A Libyan politician who claims the UK Government was involved in his and his pregnant wife’s illegal rendition, torture and mistreatment is to have his case heard at the Court of Appeal today.

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, who led an insurgency against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi before fleeing Libya in 1996, says that he and Moroccan Fatima Boudchar were abducted and detained by US secret agents with the help of British authorities.

The couple was ultimately returned to Libya to be tortured and jailed by the dictator’s government, Belhaj says, until the uprising in 2011 saw Belhaj emerge as a new political leader.

They now want an apology, admittance of liability from the Government and a token £1 compensation payment – but in December a High Court judge ruled that their claims are beyond the jurisdiction of the UK courts.

The case involves claims against the former foreign secretary Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen, the ex-head of counter-terrorism at MI6, and it reportedly played a key role in the Government’s decision to bring in controversial “secret court” powers with the new Justice and Security Act last year.

Read more: Full text of letter from 'rendition victim' Belhaj

According to Belhaj’s lawyers, British agents are “bang to rights” on being involved because “someone from Human Rights Watch found a fax [in the aftermath of the fall of the Gaddafi regime] from [Sir Mark] boasting about the support that the Brits had provided in handing over Belhaj”.

His lawyers also claimed that the British embassy in Kuala Lumpur informed the CIA of Belhaj’s whereabouts and plans to seek asylum in London, and that when the couple were being rendered to Libya in March 2004 the plane stopped off to refuel on the British island of Diego Garcia.

Mr Belhaj said that, in Bangkok, they were detained by American intelligence and he was tortured while his pregnant wife was chained to a wall by one hand and one foot on the opposite side. After they arrived in Tripoli he spent six years in jail and his wife was only released three weeks before she gave birth, he said.

Jack Straw has denied complicity in the rendition of Abdul Hakim Belhaj Jack Straw has denied complicity in the rendition of Abdul Hakim Belhaj But in the hearing last year Rory Phillips QC told the High Court judge that the alleged unlawful detention and mistreatment was carried out by officials in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Libya – none of whom were defendants in the action – and not by the UK authorities.

The Government was instead said by Belhaj's lawyers to be liable on the principles of secondary liability by acquiescing, assisting, encouraging and conspiring in what happened.

Mr Justice Simon in the end agreed with the defendants that the case against them would require the court to decide whether the conduct of US officials acting outside the US was unlawful.

The hearing at the Court of Appeal is before the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Lady Justice Sharp.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week