AbdelHakim Belhadj wins right to sue Government over rendition claims
Categories: Latest News
Friday October 31 2014
The Guardian today reports on the latest development in the rendition case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj against the British Government and former public servants, Jack Straw MP and Sir Mark Allen, former foreign secretary and former head of counter-intelligence at MI6 respectively.
Belhadj, who has been embroiled in a legal battle to sue the Government for its alleged complicity in his rendition to the Gaddafi regime and his subsequent torture, has won the right to sue the Government and intelligence services despite attempts by Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen to resist on grounds of “state immunity” and the “act of state doctrine”, which implies that British courts cannot probe the matter because it involves a foreign state.
The court of appeal in its ruling yesterday granting Belhadj the right to proceed with this legal claims against the Government argued that the case presented consideration of “grave violations of international law and human rights in the form of torture and unlawful rendition” and that there was “compelling public interest in the investigation by the English courts of these allegations”.
The appeal court in its judgment stated: “Unless the English courts were able to exercise jurisdiction in this case, these very grave allegations would go uninvestigated and the appellants would be left without any legal recourse or remedy.”
Belhadj, speaking to the Guardian about the cases brought by him and his wife, Fatima Bouchar, who was pregnant at the time of her capture, said, “I always had faith in the British justice system. The right decision has been made. I feel I am getting closer to realising justice in my case.”
The Detainee Inquiry led by Sir Peter Gibson into alleged British involvement in rendition and torture ceased consideration of the cases of Abdel Hakim Belhadj and fellow Libyan national, Sami al-Saadi, after criminal charges were brought forward.
Al-Saadi settled his claim against the Government in 2012 after agreeing a £2.2 million settlement.
It would seem efforts to shroud the truth behind the allegations via an ‘Establishment cover-up’ are steadily being undermined in favour of justice and transparency. Belhadj’s case, like that of Binyam Mohamed before him, demonstrates the crucial role of the courts in holding the security services and the Government to account.