Torture victims like me don't accept the decision not to prosecute agents. There are many serious allegations to be examined
12 January 2012 - The announcement by the CPS and Scotland Yard regarding the decision not to pursue certain individuals from British intelligence in relation to allegations of complicity in torture may, on the face of it, seem to have brought the matter to a close. That, however, is not quite it. While it is true that in the case of Binyam Mohamed criminal prosecutions may not be taking place there has been an admission, for the first time, that he was rendered and held in extrajudicial detention – which is a victory of sorts.
But there's more. Mohamed maintained – like many other torture victims in countries as diverse as Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh and Libya – that he was tortured with British knowledge and complicity but not in the presence of British agents.
Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo – who marked the 10th anniversary of his time in the US military prison this week with yet another hunger strike – has often claimed through his lawyers that his head was repeatedly smashed against the wall during an interrogation at the Bagram airbase prison in 2002, right in front of an MI6 agent. For the truth of these allegations to be fully investigated the police need to speak with Aamer.
In the cases of both Libyan rendition victims, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi – both of whom I visited in Tripoli some weeks ago – the evidence is too compelling and the case too politically sensitive to even attempt to brush aside, like Mohamed's. Saadi, a key Islamist opponent to Muammar Gaddafi whose two brothers had been killed during the infamous Abu Salim prison massacre of 1996, told me how he was lured by the British into thinking that he could come back to the UK, where he had once lived, from Hong Kong. Instead, he was arrested along with his wife and four young children, hooded and shackled and put on an Egyptian-registered plane on a one-way trip to Tripoli. Saadi was greeted in prison by intelligence chief Moussa Koussa who personally made threats against him and ordered his torture in the same Abu Salim prison where his brothers were murdered.
The case of Belhaj – who was surrounded by men kissing his hands and forehead as a people's liberator (shortly after the visits of David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Recep Tayyip Erdogan) when I met him – is even more embarrassing for the British government. He, like Saadi, was offered up as a gift to Gaddafi – the new ally in the "war on terror" back then – read more>>>