May 10, 2018 / 11:40 AM / a year ago

UK apologises to Libyan ex-rebel and wife over role in 2004 rendition

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - Britain has apologised to Libyan former rebel Abdul Hakim Belhadj and his wife Fatima Boudchar over the role of British spies in their 2004 rendition from Thailand to Libya, where Belhadj was then tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s henchmen.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright said long-running legal claims brought by the couple against British officials and security agencies had now been withdrawn as part of a full and final settlement between them and the British government.

Boudchar, who was pregnant at the time of the rendition and was detained in Gaddafi’s Libya until shortly before giving birth, was in the public gallery in parliament with her son to hear Wright’s statement.

“Following mediation, the UK government has reached a full and final settlment of Mr Belhadj and Mrs Boudchar’s claims,” Wright said.

“No admissions of liability have been made by any of the defendants ... The government has agreed to pay Mrs Boudchar 500,000 pounds ($676,000).”

“The Prime Minister has now written to them both to apologise,” he said, adding that the British government believed Belhadj and Boudchar’s account of what had happened to them. (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison)

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