UK police have sent “initial” file on Libyan renditions to prosecutors, BBC reports

October 31, 2014

Image of hands hanging on the bars of a prison cell

The Metropolitan Police today confirmed that they have sent an “initial” file to British prosecutors on the rendition of two families to Gaddafi’s Libya in a joint MI6-CIA operation.

The BBC’s Gary O’Donoghue has tweeted: “MET confirm to me that they have sent a file to CPS on crim inquiry into Belhaj rendition,” adding that “MET says initial file no indication that investigation is at an end.”

The news that police have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service concerning their criminal investigation follows yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal in London that a civil case brought by two of the victims, Fatima Boudchar and her husband Abdulhakim Belhaj, should be heard.

The police are also investigating the rendition of the al Saadi family, which included Gaddafi opponent Sami, his wife and four children aged twelve or under at the time.  Both renditions took place in March 2004, shortly after Tony Blair’s ‘deal in the desert’ with the Libyan dictator.  As opponents of Col. Gaddafi, both Mr al Saadi and Mr Belhaj faced years of imprisonment and torture in Libyan prisons after being forcibly returned to the country.

News of Britain’s central role in the renditions emerged after the fall of Tripoli in the 2011 revolution, when correspondence from senior MI6 officer Sir Mark Allen was found in spy chief Moussa Koussa’s office in which he took credit for the intelligence enabling the operation.

Commenting, Cori Crider, a director at legal charity Reprieve and member of the legal team for the al Saadi and Belhaj families said:

“This is a welcome sign that Met investigators are treating the abuse of pregnant women and children by the state with the seriousness it deserves – we wish the same could be said for the government’s approach to the Belhaj civil case.

“Up to now, the gears of British justice have ground slowly for the men, women and children who were subjected to UK-sponsored rendition and torture. But these families still have hope that, one way or another, a UK court will get to the bottom of their case. Let us hope the approach to this case vindicates the principle that no one – however high he may be – stands above the law.”