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Judicial Review over decision not to charge security officials over rendition and torture

Leigh Day taking legal challenge in the High Court against the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to bring charges over the abduction and alleged torture of two Libyan families

Libya

3 November 2016

Law firm Leigh Day are taking a legal challenge in the High Court against the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to bring charges over the abduction and alleged torture of two Libyan families.

Earlier this year the CPS announced that it would not be bringing charges against the former senior MI6 officer, Sir Mark Allen. Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar are now bringing a judicial review against that decision, arguing that the decision of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) “erred in law” and “reached a conclusion that was inconsistent with the evidence.”

Lawyers for Mr Belhaj allege that Sir Mark and British security services were involved in the unlawful abduction, kidnapping and removal to Libya in March 2004 of two families including the current Libyan politician Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, and his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar.

Britain’s central role in the rendition of the Belhaj family and that of Sami al-Saadi and his family emerged after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, when documents were found in Tripoli. In one letter which was discovered from Sir Mark to Moussa Koussa, head of Gaddafi's intelligence agency, dated 18 March 2004, Sir Mark passes on thanks for helping to arrange Tony Blair's visit to Gaddafi, writing: "Most importantly, I congratulate you on the safe arrival of Abu Abd Allah Sadiq [Mr Belhaj]."

London’s Metropolitan Police Service spent over two years investigating, providing a file of over 28,000 pages of evidence to the CPS in June 2014. However, two years later, the CPS announced that it would not charge the lead suspect (Sir Mark) due to ‘insufficient evidence’ – although it conceded that he was involved in the renditions and had “sought political authority for some of his actions.”

Commenting, Rosa Curling, a lawyer at Leigh Day representing the rendition victims, said: “Our clients are struggling to understand how, given the compelling evidence in the public domain which clearly shows UK involvement in the kidnapping and “extraordinary rendition” of both families to Gaddafi’s Libya, how the CPS can have decided not to prosecute anyone for the crimes committed against them.”
 

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