London (Valeria Piccioni) – Tony Blair, the official Special Envoy for peace of the Quartet In the Middle East by order of ONU, European Union, USA and Russia until May 2015, has refused to personally apologise to Lybian leader and fighter Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who was kidnaped and tortured in Libya in 2004 after a tip-off from MI6 gained from London-based informants. Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar, have fought for a compensation and an apology for more than six years after the role that British intelligence played in their kidnap had been revealed.
Belhadj was arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, then he was transferred to Bangkok under the custody of the CIA, and he was kept in a secret prison at the airport. After his return to Libya, he stayed in Abu Salim prison for seven years. However, his pregnant wife Fatima, was released after a few months from the imprisonment.
Belhadj founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) against Gaddafi from 1994 forward. After three failed murder attempts on Gaddafi, the LIFG was solved in 1998.
Two weeks after the couple’s kidnapping, Blair came in Libya for his first visit to Gaddafi and during the meeting he declared that Libya had recognised “a common cause” “in the fight against al-Qaida extremism and terrorism”. In the meanwhile , in London, the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell was signing a deal for gas exploration rights in the Libyan coast.
Moreover another opponent of Gaddafi, Sami al-Saadi, has been kidnapped and with his wife and his four children, they were taken to Libya. The family was incarcerated for over two months before being released. Both Saadi and Belhaj were imprisoned and tortured for more than six years. Al-Saadi has pressed charges against the British government in 2012 receiving £2.2m for compensation.
This month the Prime Minister Theresa May addressed them in order to apologise on behalf of the government and offered Boudchar, Belhadj’s wife, £500,000 compensation.
Differently, Blair had ambiguous behaviour by stating:“There’s been a settlement of the case. As I say, I am content to go along with the government’s apology in relation to it. It is not something I dealt with myself when I was in government. I think that is all I can say.”
Blair’s declaration maintained that the former Prime Minister was not aware of the situation at the time. This could suggest that Jack Straw, Britain’s former Foreign Secretary, did not share several aspects of this specific operation with Blair.
Amnesty International stated that a judicial inquiry regarding the UK involvement in this circumstance is necessary.