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Libyan Dissident Accepts $3.5m from UK Government in Settlement to Rendition Claim
14/12/2012 09:20:00
Sami al Saadi... accepts settlement to start new life with his family in Libya

Sami al Saadi, a member of a Libyan mujahideen group opposed to Gaddafi who claims that MI6 arranged to send him home along with his wife and four young children, in 2004 to face imprisonment and torture in jails under the dictatorial Gaddafi regime, has accepted a settlement of $3.5m from the UK government over its alleged role in his illegal rendition.

A British foreign office spokesman confirmed that the government and other defendants have reached a settlement, even though has been no admission of liability and no finding of liability in any court.

Sami al Saadi, was allegedly forced on board a plane in Hong Kong with his wife and children in a joint operation between the UK, US and Libya. CIA documents found in Tripoli in 2011 after the overthrow of the former dictator's regime provided evidence of the UK's alleged involvement in the 2004 "rendition".

Once back in Libya, all the members of the Saadi family who had been living outside Libya in an effort to avoid Gadaffi's agents, were initially imprisoned and al Saadi was held and tortured for a number of years.

CIA correspondence with Libyan intelligence, found in intelligence chief Moussa Koussa's office by Human Rights Watch after the fall of Tripoli, said: "We are ... aware that your service had been cooperating with the British to effect [Sami al Saadi's] removal to Tripoli ...The Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render (al Saadi) and his family to your custody."

The 2004 operation followed former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's "Deal in the Desert" with Gaddafi, as a result of which UK intelligence services allegedly helped track down and hand over his opponents.

Mr al-Saadi's law firm, Leigh Day & Co, brought the claim against MI5, MI6, the Attorney General, the Foreign Office and the Home Office for their alleged complicity in his rendition from Hong Kong to Tripoli.

The Libyan had said he was separated from his family and imprisoned on reaching Libya. He claimed he saw his young daughter lose consciousness and his wife "screaming as they were handcuffed". At the time, his children were aged six, nine, 11 and 13.

When asked why he had accepted the government pay-out, al Saadi said: "My family suffered enough when they were kidnapped and flown to Gaddafi's Libya. They will now have the chance to complete their education in the new, free Libya.

He went on to say that (thanks to the settlement), he will be able to afford the medical care he needs because of the injuries he suffered in prison."

Asked if, despite the settlement the fact that the UK government has not admitted any role in his rendition to Libya, al Saadi said: "I think the payment speaks for itself."

He also was looking forward to the result of the police investigation and hopes “there will be a full and fair public inquiry” into their case.

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