The British government on Thursday agreed to pay £2.2 million to a former Libyan dissident and his family for its role in their illegal rendition to Libya as part of a joint U.K.-U.S.-Libyan operation eight years ago.
Sami al-Saadi, who was a leading opponent of the Qadhafi regime, had sued the Foreign Office claiming that he and his family were kidnapped and forcibly flown to Libya where he was subsequently tortured. He said the MI5 played an “instrumental” role in their rendition. They were forced onto a plane in Hong Kong in 2004 and taken to Libya.
The Foreign Office confirmed the payout. “We can confirm that the government and the other defendants have reached a settlement with the claimants. There has been no admission of liability and no finding by any court of liability,” it said
In a statement through his lawyers, Mr. Saadi said he had agreed to settle the case because his family had “suffered enough”.
“[My children] will now have the chance to complete their education in the new, free Libya.” “I will be able to afford the medical care I need because of the injuries I suffered in prison.”
“I started this process believing that a British trial would get to the truth in my case. But today, with the government trying to push through secret courts, I feel that to proceed is not best for my family.
“I went through a secret trial once before, in Qadhafi’s Libya. In many ways, it was as bad as the torture. It is not an experience I care to repeat. Even now, the British government has never given an answer to the simple question: Were you involved in the kidnap of me, my wife and my children?” he said.