A Libyan military commander filed a lawsuit [press release] on Tuesday against former UK Justice Minister Jack Straw alleging that the minister was instrumental in his illegal rendition to Libya, where he was tortured under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Abdel Hakim Belhadj and his wife were transferred to Libya in 2004 as prisoners and were allegedly tortured at the hands of former Gaddafi officials. The lawsuit was launched in response to a recent Sunday Times [media website] report alleging documentation of Straw's involvement in the transfer of prisoners to Libya for torture. Papers served on Straw request access to documents from 2004 to 2010, including the documents referenced in the recent news article. Belhadj's lawyers maintain that his primary purpose is to seek an apology from the responsible parties.
UK officials have struggled with allegations of mistreatment of prisoners in recent years. In January, the chairman of the UK Detainee Inquiry [official website], a panel created to investigate illegal renditions and other allegations of misconduct, announced that his panel will not complete their investigation. UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] gave a speech [JURIST report] in September on the situation in Libya [JURIST backgrounder], announcing an investigation into collusion between MI6 [official website], the overseas British Security Service, and the Libyan Security Services regarding the treatment of former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees. Accusations of M16 sending detainees to knowingly be tortured by Libyan security services prompted Cameron to instruct the Detainee Inquiry to examine the issue. The Detainee inquiry was established [JURIST report] in July 2010, to investigate claims that British government agents were complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects held overseas.