Al-Saadi family accepts 2.23 million from UK government in compensation in out of court settlement
Sami al-Sadi, his wife and four children were abducted in Hong Kong and secretly flown to Libya in a joint US-UK operation. MI6 agents faciliated the rendition of the family, which led to the imprisonment of the entire family, initially, and the detention and torture of al-Sadi for four years by Colonel Gaddafi's regime. The UK government refused to accept any liability, even though the evidence obtained by Human Rights Watch clearly demonstrates the complicity of MI6. Al-Saadi stated that he had accepted the compensation to avoid putting his family through further suffering, and because he lacked faith that the truth would come out through the courts. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/13/libyan-dissident-mi6-aided-rendition
13 December 2012
European Court of Human Rights rules that CIA tortured and sodomised German citizen, Khaled el-Masri
On 13 December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights issued a historic judgement that the CIA had subjected Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen, to forcible disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment, including torture, which involved sodomising, beating and shackling him. The court found that the account el-Masri had given of his treatment at the hands of the CIA was established 'beyond reasonable doubt'. It also judged that the state of Macedonia had been responsbile for his torture and ill-treatment both while he was in that country and after he had been transferred to CIA custody and rendered to Afghanistan. Macedonia was ordered to pay 60,000 euros in compensation. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/dec/13/cia-tortured-sodomised-terror-suspect?INTCMP=SRCH
Cruel Britannia published by Ian Cobain
Guardian journalist and authority on rendition and secret detention, Ian Cobain, published Cruel Britannia, which charts Britain's use of torture from World War II to the 'War on Terror'. For an excellent review by Reprieve's Clive Stafford Smith, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/23/cruel-britannia-ian-cobain-review
Wife and children of Sami Al-Saadi to sue UK government for complicity in their abduction, rendition and secret detention
Legal proceedings have been launched by Sami Al-Sadi and his family against the British government and its intelligence services, and they are also planning to lodge a complaint with Scotland Yard. Al-Saadi's wife and four children, aged between 6 and 12 at the time, were held for months in one of Gaddafi's prisons following their rendition from Hong Kong. Al-Saadi was held and tortured for four years.
Libyan opponents of Gaddafi allegedly tortured by CIA before being rendered to Libya
Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the alleged torture by the CIA, including waterboarding, of Libyans who were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which later joined NATO forces in overthrowing the Gaddafi regime. The allegations contradict claims by the Bush administration that only three people were waterboarded by the CIA. The report is based on interviews by Human Rights Watch with 14 Libyans, a number of whom now hold office in the new Libyan government. Human Rights Watch issued a press release on the report, 'Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya'
Police interview Al-Saadi and Behadj
It has been confirmed by the lawyers of Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Sami Al Saadi, that the two men have been interviewed by Scotland Yard detectives. The two men are suing former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former directer of counter-terrorism at MI6, Sir Mark Allen. Director of Public Prosecution has said that the investigation of the case is of public interest. The Guardian retells the story of the rendition of the two men and their families.
16 July 2012
Hearing scheduled for two Bagram detainees
On 16 July a U.S. District Court scheduled a hearing on behalf two Yemeni and one Tunisian men held in Bagram for more than eight years.
10 July 2012
New investigation into CIA secret prisons needed
The European Parliament adopted a report calling EU member states, in particular Lithuania, Poland and Romania, to investigate allegations of the existence of secret prisons hosting the CIA extraordinary rendition programme. The EP is critical towards member states' lack of effort to investigate the matter. Although all EU member states are said to be committed to obey by international law, they are failing to implement their obligation to investigate human rights abuses that have occurred on their territory.
Earlier a working document on Alleged Transportation & illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA was made public.
Reprieve press release: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2012_07_12_European_Parliament_CIA_Secret_Prisons/
3 July 2012
Rahmatullah should be returned says his lawyer
During a Supreme Court hearing the lawyer of Yunus Rahmatullah pledged for his release from Bagram prison. Rahmatullah was captured by UK forces in Iraq and illegally rendered to Afghanistan. The UK handed Rahmatullah over under a Memorandum of Understanding, which allowed the UK to request the return of Rahmatullah to their custody. However, the US has not upheld this agreement. Rahmatullah has been detained without a trial for eight years.
2 July 2012
In Supreme Court, lawyers for Yunus Rahamatullah seek to force British Government to pursue release of detainee from Bagram
After the appeal court ruled in February 2012 that the British Government had legitimately exhausted its attempts to secure the release of Rahmatullah from indefinite American custody in Bagram (by writing a ‘polite letter’ which was declined), lawyers with Reprieve took the matter to the Supreme Court, seeking to force the Government to pursue the matter.
Big Issue magazine publishes article on corporate complicity in rendition network, drawing on work by Reprieve and The Rendition Project
Read the article here.
28 June 2012
Al-Saadi and Belhadj take British Government, former Foreign Secretary and former MI6 chief to High Court
Sami al Saadi and Abdel Hakim Belhadj, both victims with their families of rendition, secret detention and torture, have submitted formal legal proceedings to the High Court against the UK Government, the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and the former MI6 director of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen. The families are supported by Reprieve and Leigh Day & Co Solicitors. This action comes in response to ‘insufficient’ replies by both men to requests sent in January and April 2012 for disclosure of particular information.
20 June 2012
Reprieve publically launches its new investigation designed to reveal corporate involvement in the rendition network
Called ‘Rendition Inc.’, the investigation focuses on the involvement of ‘prime contractors’ CSC and DynCorp, as well as individual brokers, operators and trip planners. Documents released demonstrate the involvement of several companies in known renditions, such as that of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri from Thailand to Poland in December 2002.
12 June 2012
Sami al-Saadi and his family launch claim against the Hong Kong Government, for complicity their rendition and mistreatment.
The claim, filed by Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners, focuses on complicity alongside British, American and Libyan secret services in the March 2004 detention in Hong Kong of Sami al-Saadi and his family, their March 2004 rendition to Libya, and their subsequent torture by Libyan personnel in Tripoli.
12 June 2012
Amnesty International launches new report and website detailing European complicity in rendition and secret detention
1 June 2012
UN Committee Against Torture criticises Canada for the lack of redress for its citizens detained and interrogated outside the law
In its ‘concluding observations’, the UN CAT raised ‘serious concerns’ regarding Canada’s refusal to apologise to, and compensate, three Canadian citizens Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin. These three were detained and tortured in Syria at different times, and the Iacobucci Report of 2008 found that this was with the knowledge and complicity of Canadian officials.
The Rendition Project website officially launched
The Renditon Project website was officially launched. UK legal action charity, Reprieve, issued a press release, in which Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve said, 'The Rendition Project will be an important tool in bringing the tangled web of the CIA’s illegal rendition programme to light. It is essential that we get to the bottom of what was one of the worst human rights abuses of the ‘War on Terror’ including the involvement of the UK, a number of other European states, and major corporations. By bringing together and analysing the swathes of information that have emerged, this project will help ensure that the CIA’s global network of torture flights cannot simply be swept under the carpet'.
16 May 2012
El-Masri case against Macedonia is heard before the European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights began hearing the case against Macedonia for its alleged involvement in multiple human rights violations of German citizen, Khaled el-Masri. El-Masri was detained in Macedonia in December 2003 and held for more than three weeks in Skopje before being handed over to CIA agents and transferred to Afghanistan, where he was allegedly tortured over the next five months. Both the German and US governments have confirmed the allegations made by el-Masri's lawyers. This is the first of a number of cases that the ECHR are expected to hear about the complicity of member states in rendition, secret detention and torture. The court application can be read here. The submission from Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists can be found here. The submission from Interights can be read here. A webcast of the hearing is available here.
Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is sued by rendition victims Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Fatima Bouchar
Just days after The Sunday Times reported that Jack Straw had been confronted with evidence by MI6 that he had personally signed off the rendition of Belhadj and Bouchar, and that he had admitted his approval at the time, lawyers for the two rendition victims have served papers on Jack Straw. Belhadj and Bouchar are suing Mr Straw in his personal capacity, alleging complicity in their torture and misfeasance in public office. This apparent admission by Jack Straw contradicts his earlier public statement that: 'We were opposed to unlawful rendition. We were opposed to any use of torture. Not only did we not agree with it; we were not complicit in it and nor did we turn a blind eye to it'.
11 April 2012
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair denies knowledge of British involvement in renditions to Libya
5 April 2012
The Commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory is sued by rendition victims Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Fatima Bouchar
Lawyers for Belhadj and Bouchar have served papers against the British authorities which govern the British Indian Ocean Territory, the chain of islands which includes the US military base on Diego Garcia. This legal move comes after the discovery by Human Rights Watch of a flight plan for the aircraft N313P, titled Schedule for the Rendition of Abdullah al-Sadiq [Belhadj], which demonstrated that the flight circuit which brought Belhadj and Bouchar from Bangkok to Tripoli on 8-9 March 2004 stopped over for two hours in Diego Garcia for refuelling. While in Libyan detention, Belhadj was informed by the head of Libyan intelligence, Moussa Koussa, that this stopover took place with the consent of the British authorites. The claim is being brought in the Supreme Court of the British Indian Ocean Territory, for unlawful detention while in the Territory, and for complicity in their rendition and subsequent detention and torture.
4 April 2012
The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights finds that Government proposals for extending 'closed material proceedings' are unjustified
In a parliamentary report, the JCHR has found that the Government has 'failed to make the case for extending' the the use of so-called 'closed material proceedings' to civil cases, as outlined in the Justice and Security Green Paper. It has also found that 'proposals for reform which are intended to provide the US with a cast-iron guarantee that any intelligence they share can never be disclosed in in a UK court cannot be justified'.
11 April 2012
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair denies knowledge of British involvement in renditions to Libya
Speaking on Radio 4, Tony Blair has denied any knowledge of the rendition of Belhadj, and reaffirmed the importance of counterterrorism cooperation with Gaddafi's Libya. Listen to the interview here.
2 April 2012
US judge upholds appeal by the CIA to withold the release of rendition documents to the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition
In a 16-page decision dismissing the appeal by the APPG, US District Judge Ricardo Urbina sided with the CIA and other US agencies, that had argued that they were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act request by the APPG. This exemption was on the grounds that the APPG was a 'representative of a foreign government entity', and FOIA legislation exempts members of the intelligence community from disclosing information to foreign governments. The APPG had requested the release of records that would shed light on British involvement in rendition and secret detention.
Poland charges its former chief of intelligence over CIA secret prison
The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that the former intelligence chief, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, was charged with exceeding his powers, depriving prisoners of war of their freedom allowing corporal punishment. See The Guardian's report here.
17 March 2012
New report highlights continued US detainee transfers to units of Afghan security forces that employ systematic torture
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and the Open Society Foundations have released a new report, Torture, Transfers and Denial of Due Process, which documents new facilities where torture is taking place and the abuse of detainees transferred by US and allied forces. Torture methods reported include beatings, suspension from the ceiling, electric shocks, sexual abuse, and abuse of genitals. A UN report published in October 2011, which also documented systematic detainee abuse by Afghan forces, led to NATO's International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) suspending all detainee transfers to 'facilities of concern'. However, this new report has documented abuse at several additional facilities, as well as that committed against detainees transferred by US forces operating outside of NATO's structures.
Djibouti could be first African country tried for complicity in CIA secret detention and rendition programme
On behalf of Mohammed al-Asad, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Interights urge the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights to accept his case and force Djibouti to allow transparency concerning their involvement in the CIA extraordinary rendition programme. Secret detention and rendition victim al-Asad confidentially filed the case against Djibouti in 2009, but the details were made public today. If the African Commission acts upon the request, it will be the first time an African country’s complicity in the CIA programme is brought to trial. See the CHR&GJ report here.
Former Head of Counterterrorism at MI6 sued by Libyan victims of rendition Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Fatima Bouchar
In a Letter of Claim sent by Belhadj and Bouchar's lawyers to Mark Allen, MI6's former Head of Counterterrorism, the two victims of rendition to Libya stated their intention to bring claims against him for ‘complicity in torture, conspiracy to injury and trespass to the person; misfeasance in public office; and negligence’. MI6's involvement in Belhadj and Bouchar's rendition and subsequent interrogation in Libya has been revealed by documents found in Tripoli after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Of particular note was a letter from Mark Allen to the head of Libyan intelligence Moussa Koussa, dated 18 March 2004: 'I congratulate you on the safe arrival of [Belhadj]. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years. I am so glad.'
12 January 2012
British police announce investigation into UK involvement in Libyan renditions
In a joint statement, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Metropolitan Police Service declared that they would be opening an investigation into British involvement in the rendition and mistreatment of Belhaj, al-Saadi and their families in March 2004 and subsequently. According to the statement, 'the allegations raised in the two specific cases concerning the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya are so serious that it is in the public interest for them to be investigated now rather than at the conclusion of the Detainee [Gibson] Inquiry'.