Libyan in deal bid to settle legal case with Jack Straw
A LIBYAN politician suing Jack Straw MP for damages, amid claims a tip-off led to him being kidnapped and tortured, has said he will drop his case against the former Foreign Secretary for £1, an apology, and an admission of liability.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a leader in the rebel forces before dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed, is also taking legal action against the government and Sir Mark Allen, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6.
He said he was willing to make the same deal with them.
In 2004, Mr Belhaj was leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, opposing the dictator, when he and his wife were detained by American intelligence officers at Bangkok airport in Thailand.
He was allegedly tortured for several days while his wife, Fatima Boudchar, who was five months' pregnant, was chained to a wall at a secret prison at the airport.
It is claimed British intelligence was responsible for a tip-off that led to their capture. Mr Straw said yesterday that he was unable to comment for legal reasons.
In a letter sent to Mr Straw, David Cameron and Sir Mark, Mr Belhaj said: “I am making an open offer to settle our litigation.
“My wife and I are willing to end our case against the UK government and Messrs Straw and Allen, in exchange for a token compensation of a British pound from each defendant, an apology and an admission of liability for what was done to us. We have come to court in Britain because we believe your courts can deliver justice.”
Reprieve legal director Cori Crider said: “It is time to put the ghosts of Tony Blair’s toxic ‘deal in the desert’ with Gaddafi to rest, and this is the perfect opportunity for David Cameron to do so. The next time the Government repeats its mantra that secret courts will save the public purse, remember this family was willing to walk away for £3.”