British torture inquiry to examine Libya claims
A British inquiry into alleged complicity in the mistreatment of suspected terrorists said on Monday it would look into new claims that Britain was involved in rendition of suspects to Libya.
Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Gibson inquiry in July 2010 to probe allegations that secret services were complicit in the torture of extremists on foreign soil after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“The inquiry is looking at the extent of the UK government involvement in or awareness of improper treatment of detainees including rendition,” the Gibson inquiry said in a statement.
“We will therefore of course be considering these allegations of UK involvement in rendition to Libya as part of our work. We will be seeking more information from government and its agencies as soon as possible.”
The announcement came after files unearthed from the intelligence archives of toppled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi appeared to document cooperation between the CIA, British foreign intelligence agency MI6 and the former Libyan regime.
This apparent cooperation included the shipping of terror suspects for regime interrogation.
Among the files were documents suggesting both Britain and the US were complicit in a plan that led to the detention and torture of a senior Libyan rebel commander Abdel-Hakim Belhaj.
Belhaj, now military commander of Tripoli, has demanded an apology from both Britain and the US.
“What happened to me was illegal and deserves an apology,” he told BBC News.
Cameron’s spokesman said the primary focus of the probe was on cases relating to Guantanamo Bay but added it was “certainly open for the inquiry to consider other cases.”
“It was set up in order to look at this kind of allegation,” he added.