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Torture Victims Challenge Decision Not to Prosecute for Libyan Renditions

British prosecutors are facing a court challenge on their decision not to bring charges over the UK government's role in the rendition of two families to Gaddafi’s Libya.

MI6’s then counter-terrorism chief Sir Mark Allen took credit for the kidnap operation in a fax to Gaddafi’s intelligence head Musa Kusa in 2004. The Metropolitan police launched an investigation in 2012 after the document was uncovered during the Libyan revolution. Police handed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) a 28,000 page dossier in 2014.

However, the director of public prosecutions decided in June 2016 that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute any British officials over the affair, even though the CPS had found that the lead suspect, thought to be Sir Mark, “sought political authority for some of his actions”.

The CPS refused to change its decision in August 2016 after a completing a 'Victim’s Right of Review' in which none of the victims were consulted. Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar, who are being assisted by international human rights organisation Reprieve, are now seeking a judicial review of the CPS decision.

Mr Belhaj, an opponent of Gaddafi, and his pregnant wife Mrs Boudchar, were abducted in Thailand in March 2004 and flown to Libya.  Upon landing in Tripoli, Mrs Boudchar recalled that, “I never felt such terror. I felt weak, defeated and unable to protect my unborn baby. I thought we were going to be murdered.”

Cori Crider, the family’s lawyer at the human rights organization Reprieve, said: “It’s sad that the CPS will aggressively prosecute journalists for ‘misconduct in public office’, but a top MI6 officer who helped render kids and a pregnant woman to Gaddafi walks free. It’s sadder still that prosecutors felt victim families should have no role in the ‘victims’ review.’ The family’s view is clear. Justice was denied. The decision leaves the UK’s security services basically exempt from British law. That’s why they are fighting it.”

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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

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