Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) [official website] stated [press release] on Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against anyone in MI6 for its involvement in the movement and alleged ill treatment of Abdel Hakim Belhadj [BBC profile], and Sami Al Saadi [Reprieve profile] and their respective families in South East Asia to Libya in 2004. More specifically, the head of the CPS’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division (SCCTD) [official website] Sue Hemming stated that the CPS thoroughly investigated the case and analyzed evidence from the Metropolitan Police relating to one suspect and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge the suspect with any criminal offense. According to CPS, evidence was obtained and information was gathered from a large number of records, individuals and organizations including the Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service, governmental bodies of other countries, alleged victims and other witnesses during the course of the four year investigation. CPS stated that it considered a bringing number of charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, torture, and misconduct in public office, and that it had to decide whether it had the jurisdictional authority to prosecute each offense, as the movement and alleged ill-treatment took place outside the UK. According to CPS, “It is clear … that officials from the UK did not physically detain, transfer or ill-treat the alleged victims directly, nor did the suspect have any connection to the initial physical detention of either man or their families.” Belhadj expressed his disappointment with this announcement [Reuters report], while parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee [official website] has stated its intention to examine the case as part of its “ongoing inquiry into the role of the UK government and its security agencies” in the treatment and rendition of detainees.
UK officials have struggled with allegations of mistreatment of prisoners [JURIST report] in recent years. In January 2012 the chairman of the UK Detainee Inquiry [official website], a panel created to investigate illegal renditions and other allegations of misconduct, announced that his panel would not complete their investigation [JURIST report]. Later that year UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans for an investigation into collusion [JURIST report] between MI6, the overseas British Security Service and the Libyan Security Services regarding the treatment of former Guantanamo Bay detainees. Accusations of MI6 sending detainees to knowingly be tortured by Libyan security services prompted Cameron to instruct the Detainee Inquiry to examine the issue. The Detainee Inquiry was established [JURIST report] in July 2010 to investigate claims that British government agents were complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects held overseas.