Victims say they were kidnapped and tortured in CIA 'black sites'
UK SECURITY SERVICE complicity in the 2004 renditions of families to Libya has been officially admitted for the first time – but no prosecutions are to follow, the CPS has said.
The government investigation into the kidnap and 'rendition' of two families to Libya yesterday concluded that the British security services were involved in the CIA operation, which took place in 2004.
However the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there is "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against those named in the investigation.
"If there is political interference with the courts, then it undermines British justice." Abdul-Hakim Belhaj
The CIA operation involved the kidnap and deportation to Libya of two dissidents, Sami al Saadi and Abdul-Hakim Belhaj – along with their families, including a pregnant woman and four children.
The lawyer for Mr Belhaj, Cori Crider, told the BBC that the CPS refusal to prosecute, despite the conclusions of the investigation, suggested that the "security services are functionally above the law".
Ms Crider, who works with the human rights organisation Reprieve, added: “There is one crucial question: who knew who was on those planes, and for those who knew, what possible reason can there be for them to evade justice?
“Top British officials helped abduct a pregnant woman and four children, and so far, we have no apology, no explanation, and now no one held responsible.”
Sue Hemming, head of counter-terrorism and special crime with the CPS, said in a statement: "Following a thorough investigation, the CPS has decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge the suspect with any criminal offence.
"We made our decision based upon all the available admissible evidence and after weighing up all of the information we have been provided with."
The investigation was triggered by the discovery of documents after the downfall of Libya's president Muammar Gadaffi.
Fatima Boudchar, the wife of Mr Belhaj, told the Guardian in 2008 that Americans in black balaclavas taped her entire body and face to a stretcher for 17 hours while she was flown with her husband to one of Gaddafi's prisons in Libya.
Mr al-Saadi was deported in a separate operation from Hong Kong to Libya, and claims he was subsequently tortured.
The documents examined by investigators included letters to Moussa Koussa, the head of Colonel Gaddafi's intelligence agency in March 2004.
The letters, signed by 'Mark' – who Hemming “believed to be Mark Allen”, senior MI6 figure – thank Koussa for arranging a meeting between Tony Blair and Gaddafi – and explicitly mention the rendition of Mr Belhaj, saying "this was the least we could do for you and Libya".
The lack of prosecution by the CPS was described by Mr Belhaj as "very disappointing". He added, "If there is political interference with the courts, then it undermines British justice."
Picture courtesy of doodle dubz
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