Libyan politician to fight UK attempt to keep role in his rendition secret

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Lawyers for Abdel Hakim Belhaj to challenge government’s efforts to have his case thrown out or tried in secret

Image of Abdel Hakim Belhaj

Lawyers acting for a Libyan politician who accuses MI6 and the CIA of secretly sending him and his pregnant wife to be tortured by Muammar Gaddafi will on Monday fight a UK government attempt to prevent those responsible from being brought to justice.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima accuse the government, MI6 and the former foreign secretary Jack Straw of false imprisonment, conspiracy to cause injury, abuse of public office and negligence.

Belhaj’s abduction in 2004 with the help of MI6 came to light when documents were found in Tripoli after Gaddafi’s fall two years ago. They revealed that MI6’s Sir Mark Allen congratulated the Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa on the safe arrival of the “air cargo”, and noted that “the intelligence [on Belhaj] was British”.

The government is expected to argue that the case should be thrown out because it would damage UK-US relations. It is also expected to argue the case is beyond British courts’ jurisdiction given the alleged unlawful acts took place with other states’ help, notably the US and Libya.

Government lawyers have indicated that if necessary they will seek to have the case heard in secret courts set up this year by the Justice and Security Act.

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