Blair 'no memory' of Abdel Hakim Belhaj rendition case

Abdel Hakim Belhaj Mr Belhaj claims MI6 and the Commission for Diego Garcia were complicit in his illegal rendition to Libya

Related Stories

Tony Blair says he has no memory of an alleged 2004 rendition case involving an ex-terror suspect who claims he was tortured after being flown to Libya.

The former prime minister said Britain had always opposed rendition and "absolutely adhered to that position".

Abdel Hakim Belhaj claims his flight from Bangkok to Libya refuelled at the UK territory of Diego Garcia, which was complicit in his illegal rendition.

He is suing the UK, MI6 and the UK commission in charge of Diego Garcia.

The legal action came after several documents emerged during the collapse of Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime last year.

The BBC understands Mr Belhaj's rendition - the act of transferring people from one jurisdiction to another - was approved by the government.

'Dangerous job'

Mr Blair told BBC Radio 4's The World At One programme: "About the Belhaj case, I don't have any recollection of it at all.

"There are many, many complicated reasons why the West's relationship is difficult with the Middle East but I think [rendition] is probably the least of them.

"Rendition has been the policy of successive US administrations. It remains the policy of this US administration.

"We have always had our own position. [Then Foreign Secretary] Jack Straw made it very clear at the time and as far as I know, we absolutely adhered to that position."

Mr Blair, the prime minister from 1997 to 2007, said the security services did an "important, dangerous job" and generally deserved the full support of the country.

He also said co-operation with the former Libyan regime had been important in the fight against terrorism.

Mr Belhaj believes he was rendered from Bangkok to Libya by the CIA, and claims that during his more than four years in a Libyan prison he was interrogated by agents from countries including Britain and United States.

He has since worked with Nato as one of the leaders of the forces that helped overthrow Col Gaddafi and is now a senior military commander in the new Libya.

Mr Belhaj's lawyers filed legal papers on 5 April against the Commission for the British Indian Ocean Territory - of which the island of Diego Garcia is a part.

Diego Garcia, in the Chagos archipelago, has been a military base since the island was leased to the US in the 1970s.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.