Belhaj and Boudchar: Litigation Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:29 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 12:29 pm, 10th May 2018

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker. I thank the Attorney General for the tone of his statement and for generously giving me advance sight of it. His statement acknowledges that a previous UK Government were complicit in the abduction, detention and rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya of a man who was an opponent of that vile regime. That is particularly shocking to us when we remember that the blood of so many innocent civilians, including British civilians, was on Gaddafi’s hands. The extraordinary rendition of Mrs Boudchar makes this even worse, particularly as she was pregnant at the time. I pay tribute to her fortitude in pressing this claim and in being here today.

The UK Government’s complicity in these events is shameful and is a gross breach of international humanitarian law, human rights and the rule of law. I am pleased that the Attorney General has acknowledged that lessons must be learned and sought to give us some reassurance for the future. May I ask him three questions? Will he specifically assure the House that such an occurrence could not take place again under a UK Government? Will he assure this House that in future information will not be shared with so-called “international partners” who flout international law and human rights? Can he tell us whether the investigations that have gone into settling this claim have uncovered whether what happened was part of the dark side of Tony Blair’s deal in the desert with Gaddafi in 2004?