Hong Kong government urged to 'own up' over al-Saadi extradition

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 4:13am

Lawyers preparing to sue the Hong Kong government over its alleged role in the extradition of a Libyan dissident say security chiefs should come clean on their role now, as it is only a matter of time before the public will find out.

Sami al-Saadi has already started legal action against the UK government for allegedly colluding with US and Libyan officials to plan and execute a secret rendition flight from Hong Kong to Tripoli in 2004.

Last week, former British foreign secretary Jack Straw and a former senior MI6 officer, Mark Allen, were cited as key defendants in the UK case.

Cori Crider, legal director for the human rights law firm Reprieve, which is co-representing Saadi with the law firm Leigh Day, said: "The time will come when the UK government has to give us evidence about the whole kidnap operation - including who its 'fixers' in Hong Kong were."

Saadi had been living in exile in the UK and then in China for almost 15 years after being jailed for handing out anti-Gaddafi materials in Libya. The Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi suspected Saadi of terrorism.

Saadi claims that in 2004, he and his family were en route to Norway after leaving their safe haven in mainland China.

When he and his family landed at Chep Lap Kok they were detained for passport violations and held for almost two weeks before being forced onto a Tripoli-bound plane.

Saadi was incarcerated in the notorious Abu Salim jail, where he says he endured years of torture at the hands of Gaddafi's henchmen and was interrogated by US and UK spies.

Secret CIA documents list the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre as having played a key role in the rendition.

Crider said: "That's why there's no sense in the Hong Kong government or the Business Aviation Centre refusing to give us evidence. The truth is going to come out, one way or another."

A Security Bureau spokesman said it would not comment.