MI6 and CIA under scrutiny after 'rendition' court cases

Sami al-Saadi

British government pays £2m to Libyan dissident as CIA is found guilty of 'torture'

LAST UPDATED AT 10:02 ON Fri 14 Dec 2012

BRITISH and American intelligence agencies are under scrutiny today over two cases of 'extraordinary rendition' that have led to court cases.
 
Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi (above) and his family have been paid a settlement of more than £2m by the British government after they were abducted and flown back to Tripoli - allegedly with the help of MI6 - where he was imprisoned and tortured by the regime of Colonel Gaddafi.
 
Meanwhile the European Court of Human Rights has heard how Khalid El-Masri, an innocent German of Lebanese origin, was sodomised, beaten and shackled by a team of CIA agents as Macedonian police stood by after he was seized and handed over to a 'rendition team' in 2003.

The Saadi case:  The High Court in London was told yesterday that Saadi had accepted a settlement of £2.23m in compensation from the UK government, although it did not admit any liability.
 
The rendition operation took place in 2004, days after Tony Blair visited the North African state and signed the "deal in the desert" with Gaddafi. After the agreement "UK intelligence services helped track down and hand over [Gaddafi's] opponents," notes The Guardian.

Saadi and his family were lured from their home in China to Hong Kong, where they were abducted by the CIA and flown to Tripoli. After the fall of the Gaddafi regime, documents were discovered that suggested British agents were involved. Saadi was held in a Libyan prison for six years.

The Daily Mail describes the pay-out as "hush money" designed to prevent "the exposure of embarrassing secrets about Britain's alleged role in the kidnap and 'rendition' operation".
 
Police are still investigating the role of MI6 in the rendition of Libyan dissidents and The Daily Telegraph reports that there have been calls for an "inquiry into the extent of the UK’s involvement in torture and other abuses of detainees held overseas".

The El-Masri case: Human rights groups have hailed a "historic" judgment at the ECHR, where the practice of "extraordinary rendition" was defined as torture.
 
The Strasbourg court ruled that German car salesman Khalid El-Masri, who had the misfortune of sharing a name with an al-Qaeda suspect, "suffered both torture and inhumane and degrading treatment at the hands of the CIA and the Macedonia border guards," according to the Telegraph, when he was seized in late 2003.
 
James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, told The Guardian the ruling was "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror".
 
Masri's case caused outrage in 2004 after he was left on a mountain road in Albania by US officials several months after Macedonian border guards handed him over the CIA and he was flown to Afghanistan. · 

Disqus - noscript

Cameron may feel proud to be British. He should lock up those responsible. I am ashamed to be part of such a nation

I have never felt as ashamed as I do now to be British and supposedly Christian (RC). We are truly reverting back to the dark ages and the ConDems are making sure we stay there. 2012 and the Mayan prediction? I can almost say we deserve it.

£2,000,000... if we'd have renditioned Abu Hamza,and Qatada we would have saved a fortune!!

@deckhanddave - Why blame the ConDems for this? It was Tony Blair and Labour who were in power when these renditions happened.

Sorry, nothing to do with davy boy this time.

Take a closer look at the unholy trinity of bush-blair-binladen.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.