Full text of letter Libyan from 'rendition victim' Abdul Hakim Belhaj
Monday 04 March 2013
Following is the full text of the letter from Abdul Hakim Belhaj, who is suing the British government for their alleged involvement in his extraordinary rendition to one of Gaddafi’s notorious prisons.
Hizb al-Watan (Nation Party)
Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP
Sir Mark Allen CMG
28 February 2013
As you know, in March 2004 my pregnant wife and I were kidnapped in Bangkok, tortured in a secret CIA site, and flown on a CIA jet to Muammar Gaddafi. I was tortured in Libya and jailed until 2010.
Later, I was surprised to learn that Britain, and Messrs. Allen and Straw in particular, helped to orchestrate this.
I will not repeat the details of my wife's and my suffering in CIA custody and in Libya. You are aware of what happened to us.
Today I write to offer a swift resolution. As I have said before, I will forever be grateful to Britain for helping the Libyan people end Gaddafi's rule. I believe it is essential to Libya's future that relations between Libya and Britain remain warm.
For this reason, I am making an open offer to settle our litigation. My wife and I are willing to end our case against the UK Government and Messrs Straw and Allen in exchange for a token compensation of a British pound from each defendant, an apology and an admission of liability for what was done to us. My solicitors have prepared some brief wording, which I attach.
Various media reports I have seen suggest that our motive for bringing this case is to enrich ourselves. I wish to lay this misconception to rest. It is certainly true that my wife and I suffered deeply during our kidnap and in Libya, and that we continue to suffer. My wife may never be the same again.
But we have come to court in Britain because we believe your courts can deliver justice. We are primarily bringing this claim to secure a public judgment, recognising the wrongs we have suffered.
I have also noted the UK Government's plan to introduce a system of secret courts in Britain. It seems the UK Government wants our case to be heard in secret. I have been a victim of a secret trial before, in Gaddafi's Libya. I did not get to see any evidence or to question any witnesses against me. For all I know there were no witnesses. I was then sentenced to death.
I have seen press reports of ministers seeking to justify secret trials on the basis that the government has to pay large settlements to protect national security. You can now settle this case at little cost to the UK taxpayer. There will be no harm to the security of the British people for the government and Messrs Straw and Allen to accept their responsibility, and apologise to me and my wife.
To Messrs Allen and Straw: We are not seeking an apology from you out of vindictiveness. As you know, we have neither named nor pursued the other more junior officers and individuals named in the same documents that identified Sir Mark Allen. This is because I believe responsibility for my wife's and my suffering must ultimately lie with those in command.
The offer will stand and may be accepted through our solicitors until 7 March 2013. On that day it will have been nine years since our rendition to Libya. If you have not accepted by then, the offer will be withdrawn and we will pursue our case through the courts.
Our position remains the same as we expressed to the British government over a year ago: we are ready to move forward, but we cannot do so until we see that justice is done.
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