Friday, June 10, 2016

No justice for rendition

In 2004, Britain kidnapped Sami al-Saadi in Hong Kong and illegally rendered him to Libya. The same year, they helped the CIA do the same to Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his family in Thailand. Both men were tortured by the Libyan regime, and it is clear that MI6 knew and wanted this to happen. In fact, they questioned both victims after their torture. But despite this, the British government is refusing to bring charges against its spies:

Prosecutors are set to announce that they are bringing no charges following a police investigation into MI6’s involvement in the kidnapping of two families who were “rendered” to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons, despite protests by the victims and their lawyers that the evidence against the agency is overwhelming.

Documents that described the UK’s involvement in the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife, and fellow Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi along with his wife and four young children, were uncovered during the 2011 revolution that led to the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi.


Scotland Yard officers who have spent four years building a case against the MI6 officers allegedly involved will be deeply dismayed by the decision.

So too will be Belhaj, Saadi and their families, who have said that they will regard any failure to bring charges as a damning indictment of British standards of justice.

This is as clear a case as you can get. There is a paper trail a mile wide linking this straight to MI6. Given that, its hard to escape the conclusion that this is just another example of the British establishment protecting its own from justice. But by doing so, they prove both that the UK is absolutely unreformable, and that people will have to seek justice for its crimes by other means. And when you are trying to fight terrorism, that is a very dangerous message to send.

As for Mark Allen and jack Straw, the apparent architects of this crime, there are a multitude of legal jurisdictions which claim universal jurisdiction for torture and are well connected to other countries via extradition treaties. Like America's Iraq criminals, they should be thinking twice about any foreign trips for the rest of their lives.