Britain has tried to block release of US 'torture files' that could prove Blair Government was complicit in ill-treatment of terror suspects, it is claimed
- Details have emerged in legal case between Britain and Libyan politician
- Abdel Hakim Belhadj suing Britain over his kidnap and forced return to Libya
- Claims to have evidence Britain lobbied against release of sensitive material
- True extent of British complicity in torture has never been fully disclosed
Tony Blair's Government allegedly lobbied against the release of material regarding prisoners' torture
Britain has tried to block the release of US ‘torture files’ that could prove how the Blair Government was complicit in the capture and ill-treatment of dozens of terror suspects, it was claimed last night.
US Senators are within weeks of publishing a top-secret report on America’s torture and rendition programme carried out in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The 6,300 files will expose the horror of the CIA’s waterboarding and other tortures and could also reveal the extent of British co-operation in the programme.
Claims that Britain has put pressure on the US to halt the release of the documents have emerged in legal correspondence in the case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a senior Libyan politician and former opponent of Colonel Gaddafi who is suing Britain over his kidnap and forced return to Libya in 2004.
Mr Belhadj is relying on intelligence provided by the UK former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who says Foreign Office (FO) sources have secretly briefed him about Britain’s diplomatic lobbying against the release of the highly sensitive material.
In a letter to the FO, Mr Belhadj’s lawyers say: ‘The report and its executive summary is likely to feature information about [Mr Belhadj and his wife] who in 2004 were held in a CIA black site in Bangkok and rendered in a joint MI6-CIA-Libyan operation to Gaddafi’s Libya.’
They add: ‘It therefore appears HM Government is seeking to dissuade the US Government from disclosing details about our clients’ rendition...’
The true extent of British complicity in torture and kidnap of dozens of detainees has never been fully disclosed.
Plight: Abdel Hakim Belhadj is suing Britain over his kidnap and forced return to Libya in 2004
Mr Murray says: ‘Britain has lobbied the US against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and rendition.
'The lobbying has been carried out “at all levels” – White House, State Department and CIA.’
The FO declined to comment.
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