Ex-foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind calls for parliamentary inquiry into Britain’s part in rendition and torture of Libyan dissident
- Ex-Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcom Rifkind says inquiry is in the public interest
- He wants committee to look into roles of then PM Tony Blair and Jack Straw
- Abdul Hakim Belhadj’s torture by CIA and Libyans was facilitated by MI6
- He and his wife were bundled into a van and ended up in the hands of Gaddafi
- The UK government issued an apology to both of them Parliament on Thursday
Former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the rendition of Libyan dissident Abdul Hakim Belhaj.
Mr Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar were kidnapped in Thailand in 2004 and returned to Libya where they were allegedly tortured by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.
Their capture was part of an M16-CIA operation linked to Tony Blair’s infamous ‘deal in the desert’ with Gaddafi.
The couple received a formal apology from the UK Government for their part in their kidnap and torture in Parliament on Thursday.
Former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the rendition of Libyan dissident Abdul Hakim Belhaj (pictured in 2011)
But now Sir Malcolm says the Intelligence and Security Committe should look into the case further, particularly with regards to Tony Blair and his then foreign secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar (pictured outside Parliament) were kidnapped in Thailand in 2004 and returned to Libya where they were allegedly tortured by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces
He told the BBC: ‘I think it’s absolutely vital and in the public interest that the role of the prime minister and ministers at the time in this affair should become better understood.
‘Tony Blair was prime minister, he has been uncharacteristically silent, so far as I am aware not a word has he said.
‘Jack Straw said he would love to give evidence to the ISC on those matters relevant to national security where he can’t speak openly.
‘What is not known is the extent to which the then prime minister and other ministers were party to what MI6 was doing.
‘And we know that Mr Blair took a very strong personal interest in Libya.’
Sir Malcolm, a former chairman of the ISC, said the committee would be able to make 95 per cent of its findings public.
‘That’s exactly why the Intelligence and Security Committee are there. They are senior parliamentarians.
‘They are the only people outside the Government who have the right, absolute right to see all the highly classified information and therefore would be able to come to a judgment.
‘They could quite easily come to the judgment either that ministers, in their view, did not know, or were not involved, or that ministers were … right up to their necks, as it were.
‘There will be no reason of national security why either the involvement of the prime minister, or ministers, or their non-involvement, should not be, not only investigated, but the results announced to Parliament and to the wider public.
The couple received a formal apology from the UK Goverment (Belhaj is pictured with Dominick Chillcott UK ambassador for Turkey) for their part in their kidnap and torture in Parliament on Thursday
BNow Sir Malcolm Rifkind (pictured) says the Intelligence and Security Committe should look into the case further, particularly with regards to Tony Blair and his then foreign secretary Jack Straw
‘The Intelligence and Security Committee has the right to decide on its own authority whether to carry out such an investigation.’
Mr Straw has said he ‘would be happy’ to give evidence to the ISC, stating that he sought to act at all times in a manner consistent with his legal duties while foreign secretary.
The couple fought a long legal battle over their rendition and the ‘apalling’ treatment that followed back in Libya.
Pictured: Libyan anti-Gaddafi rebel Abdul Hakim Belhaj
During an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court last year, the court heard how Mr Belhaj, a Libyan national and opponent of Gaddafi, and his wife had attempted to take a commercial flight from Beijing to London using fake passports.
But they were instead deported by the Chinese authorities to Kuala Lumpur where they were detained.
It is alleged MI6 became aware of their detention and reported their whereabouts to the Libyan intelligence services, a plan which led to them being tortured in Bangkok and held against their will in Libya.
Ms Boudchar was held until June 2004 while Mr Belhaj was incarcerated for six years until March 2010.
Belhaj’s capture was part of an M16-CIA operation linked to Tony Blair’s infamous ‘deal in the desert’ with Gaddafi (pair pictured together before his death in 2011)
Pictured: Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair embraces Libyan Colonel Gaddafi
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