11:59 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on April 18, 2018, as she heads to the weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons.

    UK Apologizes for 'Illegally' Returning Libyan Ex-Militant Leader to Tripoli

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    Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a former Libyan militant leader and politician, who played a large role in overthrowing and deposing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, was reportedly tortured after he was taken back to Libya from Thailand in 2004.

    The UK has apologized to the ex-militant leader for the involvement of members of Britain’s intelligence apparatus in his rendition in 2004, the Reuters news agency reported today.

    French right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party President, Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during the LR National Council on February 14, 2016 in Paris.
    © AFP 2018 / Lionel Bonaventure
    His wife, Fatima Boudchar, was also forcefully taken back to Libya over a decade ago, where she claims to have been tortured.

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May apologized on behalf of the British government to both Mr. Hakim Belhadj and his wife via a letter, made public on Thursday.

    “The UK government believes your accounts. Neither of you should have been treated in this way. The UK government’s actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering… On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, I apologize unreservedly,” PM May wrote in a letter released to the public on May 10.

    US Agents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) led the rendition, but received support from British spies as they illegally transported the couple to Tripoli.

    The couple legally challenged the UK’s former foreign affairs minister, numerous government ministries, and a senior British intelligence official, as part of their effort to obtain an apology and “symbolic damages.”

    A ruling by the Supreme Court in 2017 granted the two Libyan nationals the right to sue the British government.

    All of their claims have now been withdrawn as part of a “full and final out-of-court settlement,” Attorney General Jeremy Wright told parliament.

    READ MORE: Libyan Military Chief Haftar Announces Offensive to Take Derna


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