Libyan torture case: European Parliament attacks UK for “intention” to use secret courts

October 10, 2013

Image of a secret prison

The European Parliament has today passed a resolution criticising the UK Government for “delay[ing] proceedings” in a case brought by a Libyan rendered to torture with British assistance, and for its “intention to have the case heard in new secret proceedings.”

The resolution refers to the case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who was kidnapped and handed over to Gaddafi, along with his pregnant wife, in a joint MI6-CIA-Libyan operation in 2004.  It is also critical of the “climate of impunity regarding…CIA programmes,” in European member states, which has enabled the “continuation of fundamental rights violations…as further revealed by the mass spying activities of the US National Security Agency.”

Lithuania, which currently holds the EU Council Presidency, faces a specific call to “reopen its criminal investigation into CIA secret detention facilities” on its soil.

The UK, meanwhile, is told to “allow [rendition] cases to proceed in full transparency and not through secret proceedings” – a reference to the Justice and Security Act passed earlier this year which rolled out ‘secret courts’ across the civil justice system.

Commenting, Cori Crider, Strategic Director at legal charity Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Belhadj in his case against the UK Government said: “We already know that the UK played a central part in kidnapping Mr Belhadj and his pregnant wife and forcing them on a plane to Gaddafi’s prisons – it’s spelled out in a letter from MI6 to Gaddafi’s spy chief.  So it is hard to see why, instead of just apologising, the UK Government is desperately trying to sweep all this under the carpet.  They should listen to the European Parliament and bring this culture of impunity in the security services to an end.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 /

2. The text of the resolution in full can be found here: It was passed by 286 votes For to 114 Against.