A few days ago the Crown Prosecution Service announced that despite a 28,000 page dossier on the British involvement of the rendition of two Libyans in 2004, including a fax message collected in Libya, purportedly from Sir Mark Allen an MI6 agent taking credit for the transfer, that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. According to Wikipedia the fax read “I congratulate you on the safe arrival of [Mr Belhaj]. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years…..Amusingly, we got a request from the Americans to channel requests for information from [Mr Belhaj] through the Americans. I have no intention of doing any such thing. The intelligence about [Mr Belhaj] was British… I feel I have the right to deal with you direct on this”. One of the people rendered from Thailand to Libya, Abdel Hakim Belhaj was transported along with his wife who was 4 months pregnant at the time offered to settle in 2013 for a nominal sum. According to Channel 4 In 2013, Mr Belhaj offered to drop his case for £3, an apology and an admission of liability, but this was not accepted. In a letter sent to Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Straw, and Sir Mark, he said: “I am making an open offer to settle our litigation. “My wife and I are willing to end our case against the UK Government and Messrs Straw and Allen in exchange for a token compensation of a British pound from each defendant, an apology and an admission of liability for what was done to us.”
The Guardian reported, last Monday The CPS last week said last week there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. It said prosecutors had concluded that Allen had been in contact with countries that detained Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi in 2004 as they were transferred to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya and that he had “sought political authority for some of his actions”. The CPS concluded: “Officials from the UK did not physically detain, transfer or ill-treat the alleged victims directly, nor did the suspect have any connection to the initial physical detention of either man or their families.”
There has been calls from MPs on both sides of the House of Commons for this matter to be brought out into the public eye. Last Monday Alistair Carmichael, asked the following question “The Home Secretary will have seen the recent reports that Eliza Manningham-Buller, when she was head of MI5, wrote to the then Prime Minister protesting about MI6 involvement in rendition. This becomes particularly concerning in view of the reasons given by the Crown Prosecution Service last week for declining to prosecute a senior officer of MI6. Will the Home Secretary confirm that that letter was written by Eliza Manningham-Buller, and will she commit to having it put into the public domain? ” The response from Theresa May was that the Government does not comment on leaked documents. Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP for Chichester and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, said: “It is now crucial to find out who authorised these operations.”
This is surely a matter that should concern all of us. We have heard during the referendum campaign a clamour for a Government that is democratic and accountable, that is open and transparent. Whatever the outcome of the vote on Thursday, we need our own Government to become closer to the ideal promoted by some of those currently serving as Ministers of the Crown.