UK's £2.5m to man 'rendered' to Libya


The British government has agreed to pay more than £2 million (€2.5m) to the family of a leading opponent of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadafy who says Britain was involved in his rendition to Tripoli where he was tortured.

Sami al-Saadi, who had for years tried to avoid Col Gadafy’s agents, was abducted with his wife and four young children in Hong Kong in 2004, forced on to a plane and flown to Libya where they were all imprisoned. Mr Saadi was then tortured for years following the joint British-US-Libyan operation, said British legal charity Reprieve, who were involved in his case.

The charity said Britain’s role in the rendition – handing over – only came to light in 2011 after Col Gadafy was ousted from power, when correspondence between the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Libyan intelligence was found by Human Rights Watch in the office of Col Gadafy’s former spy chief Moussa Koussa.

“We [the CIA] are . . . aware that your service had been co-operating with the British to effect [Mr Saadi’s] removal to Tripoli. . . the Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render [Mr Saadi] and his family into your custody,” the correspondence said, according to Reprieve.

Reprieve said Britain had now agreed to pay Mr Saadi and his family £2.2 million.

The rendition occurred when Britains relations with Libya thawed during Tony Blair’s period as prime minister. He visited Libya in 2004 and announced that Col Gadafy was ready to help Britain’s fight against terrorism.

“We can confirm that the government and the other defendants have reached settlement with the claimant,” said a foreign office spokesman. “There has been no admission of liability and no finding of any court of liability.”