UK Supreme Court To Rule On Libya Rendition Case
UK Supreme Court began hearing a lawsuit brought by Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, alleging the involvement of UK government in his 2004 rendition by US forces. Belhaj and his wife were arrested in Bangkok in 2004 and returned to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where he spent six years in prison.
It will be determined by the Supreme Court whether Abdel Hakim Belhaj’s civil claim for damages against the former foreign secretary Jack Straw , Sir Mark Allen, MI6’s counter-terrorism chief at the time, the Home Office and the Foreign Office should be allowed to proceed. He further says that he was subject to interrogation by British agents twice while in Libya. He is seeking damages and a declaration of illegality from the court.
Initially the claim was brought in 2013 but it was not entertained by the High Court stating that hearing the claim was barred by the Acts of State doctrine. However the Court of Appeal allowed the claim in 2014 on the basis that “it falls within a limitation on grounds of public policy in cases of violations of international law and fundamental human rights.” The court stated that while the Acts of State doctrine is valid, it does not stop a British court from examining whether British agencies, officials or ministers were separately culpable.
The hearing is expected to last four days where it will be determined whether the couple can sue the UK government.