Legal proceedings have started against Jack Straw by Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a former Libyan dissident who was abducted along with his pregnant wife and flown to one of Muammar Gaddafi's prisons. Belhaj claims he was abducted with the help of MI6 through a process known as extraordinary rendition.
The Guardian reports that Belhaj and his wife are alleging that Straw was complicit in the "torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, batteries and assaults" that they say were perpetrated on them by Thai and US agents, as well as Libyan authorities.
Last week, Belhaj’s wife Bouchar told the Guardian “how she was chained to a wall for five days in a secret prison in Bangkok before being taped from head to foot and secured to a stretcher for the 17-hour flight to Tripoli.”
Meanwhile a police criminal investigation was announced in January by the Crown Prosecution Service into the case of Bouchar and Belhaj as well as for a second operation in which a Libyan family of six were flown to one of Gaddafi's prisons and the UK’s involvement in the rendition operations. Jack Straw who was Foreign Secretary at the time is expected to be questioned by Scotland Yard's detectives, according to The Guardian.
Documents that were discovered in Tripoli, last September show that the rendition operation were initiated by British intelligence officers and the guardian reports that the MI6 did not deny their involvement. Inciting “well-placed” Whitehall sources it says that M16 insisted that the agency's actions were part of "ministerially authorised government policy".
Reports from UK media claim that MI6 confronted Straw with evidence that he was the minister who personally authorised the operation.
In Cyprus, Jack Straw is an unpopular figure and has been heavily criticised for his policy of backing Turkey's positions in Cyprus, as shown by one of his comments to the effect that 'the taboo' of recognising the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' should be lifted. Cyprus, split into two by the Turkish invasion of 1974, is in the process of reunification talks that are almost at deadlock, and the island has suffered under a repressive occupation in which one-third of the island is controlled by the Turkish army.
In one incident, Straw made a state visit to Cyprus in which he made a point to visit the Turkish-Cypriot 'presidential palace' - causing a diplomatic uproar and raising the condemnation of the government. During his visit, there were protests from Greek-Cypriots, who viewed his actions as an attempt to upgrade the TRNC, against which there are UN resolutions.
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