[QODLink]
People & Power

Britain's MI6 linked to Libya torture scandal

Al Jazeera investigates how information gathered through torture of Gaddafi dissidents was used to track Libyans in UK.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2013 18:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Intelligence extracted by torture in Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim prison has been linked to arrests of Libyan dissidents in the United Kingdom, an investigation by Al Jazeera's People and Power has revealed.

In this exclusive report, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the anti-Gaddafi resistance group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), explains that he and fellow leader Sami al-Saadi were subjected to torture by his Libyan interrogators, which forced them to give up the names of innocent residents in the UK.

Al-Saadi and Belhaj also claim foreign agents, including British agents, questioned them in Abu Salim prison. These allegations form the basis of a lawsuit against the British government.

According to Belhaj’s lawyers, the men and their families were pawns in a deal struck by Britain in 2004.

After Gaddafi’s fall, the role played by British intelligence agencies was discovered.

"When the rebels came to Tripoli they ransacked all sorts of buildings ... associated with Gaddafi’s old regime," said Al Jazeera's Juliana Ruhfus, who was involved in the investigation.

"It was in the office of spy chief Moussa Koussa that they found a stash of documents that revealed, in startling detail, the collaboration between British and Libyan intelligence services."

Belhaj says he was pressured by Gaddafi's interrogators to give up information about Libyans living in Britain.

"Sometimes they would come to me with the questions and answers already done and force me to sign it. They would mention names to me and say that these people supported armed activities," he said.

One of the men named under torture was Ziad Hashem, a Libyan who obtained asylum in the UK after Belhaj’s rendition. Hashem claims he was arrested in Britain without any charges: "We were just put in prison arbitrarily without any explanation."

Hashem is part of yet another law suit against the British government. One of the things he is hoping to reveal is the flow of information between Libyan and British intelligence agencies which led to his detention.

The British government says it is committed to investigating allegations of mistreatment, that it stands firmly against torture and that it never asks any other country to carry it out.

But the dissidents accuse the British government of being complicit in their rendition into Gaddafi's prisons, showing Al Jazeera documents from MI6 tipping off Gaddafi's intelligence apparatus about their flight movements.

Libya: Renditions airs on People & Power on Al Jazeera English from Wednesday 18 December at 10.30pm London time (22.30 GMT) and is available online at aje.me/libyarenditions

507

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
join our mailing list