Last Updated: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:41 pm (KSA) 09:41 am (GMT)

British intelligence accused of giving Libyan spies details of Qaddafi opponents

Libyan military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj has said he will sue former British foreign secretary Jack Straw for allowing him to be sent back to Libya in 2004 when he hoped to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. (File photo)
Libyan military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj has said he will sue former British foreign secretary Jack Straw for allowing him to be sent back to Libya in 2004 when he hoped to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. (File photo)

British intelligence furnished Libyan spies with information about Muammar Qaddafi opponents in 2006, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday.

According to documents revealed in archives in Libya, classified as “UK/Libya Secret”, British secret service agents from MI5 gave the confidential information to Qaddafi’s intelligence officers at Heathrow airport. They were given a safe house in the posh locality of Knightsbridge in the British capital as well as secure mobile phones, claims the newspaper.

British member of Parliament from the Conservative party, David Davies, was quoted in the Guardian as saying that the information uncovered in the archives suggested MI5 was involved in “peculiar” activities towards Libyans in the UK.

Documents revealed that British intelligence told its Libyan counterparts that “targets” could be threatened with deportation if they failed to cooperate.

According to the minutes of one meeting between agents printed in the Guardian: “British intelligence must be careful how they approach a target because this individual could call on human rights or the press and cause a security scandal that exposes the co-operation between British and Libyan secret services.”

This damning information follows reports on Wednesday that Libyan military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj was planning to sue then British foreign secretary Jack Straw for allowing “[Belhaj’s] illegal rendition,” wrote the Guardian newspaper.

Belhaj planned to seek asylum with his wife in England from China, which is where he was living in exile, before being detained en route to the United Kingdom.

Straw is accused of signing a document in 2004 that allowed for Belhaj to be sent back to Libya in 2004.

MP Davies believes Belhaj’s case was not the “only operation we carried out in conjunction with Libya’s security services.”

“This is two years later. It involves people who have come to Britain, presumably cleared to live in Britain, being put under pressure to deal with the security service, which seems rather peculiar if this is realpolitik rather than protecting the security of the country.”

Then foreign secretary Margaret Beckett, commenting on the relationship between Libya and UK said that the matter seemed to her as “operational issue” and added: “If it’s MI5 it’s nothing to do with the Foreign Office.”

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