A landmark challenge to UK government secrecy

The government wants to hide a top MI6 officer’s role in renditions to Libya. But now we are challenging them in the Supreme Court.

In 2004, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar were kidnapped, rendered to Libya, and tortured by the CIA with the knowledge and assistance of MI6. At the time of the ordeal Fatima was pregnant.

After being rendered, Abdul-Hakim was detained for six years in some of the Libya’s most brutal jails, and interrogated by ‘foreign’ agents, including some from the UK. Officials continued to torture him until 2010, when he was eventually released. Fatima was imprisoned in Libya for four months. She was released just three weeks before giving birth.

We know that the UK played an important role in the couple’s rendition. That’s why Abdul-Belhaj and Fatima are currently legally challenging the decision of the government not to charge a senior MI6 officer, Sir Mark Allen, over his involvement in their ordeal.

But the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is attempting to hold these legal proceedings in secret. If he is successful, Abdul-Hakim, Fatima, their lawyers, journalists and the public would all banned from attending these hearings.

That’s why, on 22nd March, Abdul-Hakim and Fatima brought their case to the Supreme Court, and asked the Court to rule that the government cannot hide behind closed doors.

Ministers hope to whisper in the judge’s ear about the real reason one of their top MI6 officers was let off the hook for his role these renditions. But with something this serious we, the British public, have a right to know what was done in our name.

More to come on this…

Read more about Abdul-Hakim and Fatima here