Cameron promises full examination of new rendition claims

 

David Cameron said yesterday that an independent inquiry should investigate evidence, revealed by The Independent, that British intelligence agencies were complicit in the rendition of terrorist suspects to Libya, where they were tortured by the Gaddafi regime.

Responding to the discovery on Friday of papers implicating MI6 in the arrest and extradition of Libyan dissidents, the Prime Minister said: "We've asked the retired judge Sir Peter Gibson to examine issues around the detention and treatment of suspects overseas."

Mr Cameron told the Commons that the accusations were "significant" and promised that fears the UK and Libyan security services became "too close" would be fully examined.

But he repeatedly praised the work of MI5 and MI6 and urged MPs to remember the context in which the intelligence services were operating as they tried to bring the Libyan regime in from the cold and recruit it in the fight against international terrorism.

"It is important that nobody rushes to judgement. In 2003, two years after 9/11, you had the situation where there was a Libyan terrorist group that was allied to al-Qa'ida. At that time our security services were working to keep us safe," Mr Cameron said.

Documents discovered in Tripoli appear to suggest the UK traded information with Colonel Gaddafi's government in return for intelligence extracted from terror suspects under interrogation in Libyan prisons.

The papers, discovered in the offices of the former head of Libyan intelligence, Moussa Koussa, imply that Britain was involved in the rendition of Abdelhakim Belhaj, who was at the time a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Now a commander in the rebel forces which overthrew Colonel Gaddafi with British support, he says he was held in isolation, and regularly tortured, during his three years in prison.

In a statement to MPs on Libya, Mr Cameron said: "My concern throughout has been to deal with these accusations of malpractice so as to enable the security services to get on with the vital work they do. And because they cannot speak for themselves, let me put on record once again our enormous gratitude for all they do to keep our country safe."

Jack Straw, who was the Foreign Secretary at the time of the events mentioned in the letter, said the previous government strongly opposed the use of torture and denied turning a blind eye to it.

A parliamentary inquiry could also be launched into the claims.

Mr Belhaj is planning to sue. "Britain, America, they demand that other countries follow laws on human rights. Are their intelligence people above the law?"

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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