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  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:37am
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HUMAN RIGHTS

Sami al-Saadi's secret rendition may cost millions in compensation

Officials confirm payout under consideration for dissident who was abducted by Hong Kong authorities and secretly flown to a Libyan jail

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 August, 2013, 8:21am
 

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Hong Kong could pay compensation to a Libyan dissident whose secret rendition from the city led to his torture in one of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi s jails.

Security and justice officials have confirmed a payout to Sami al-Saadi - which the Sunday Morning Post understands will run to millions of dollars - is being considered.

Saadi claims that he, his wife and four young children were abducted by Hong Kong authorities and forced onto a Tripoli-bound plane in March 2004, after which he was imprisoned and tortured for years.

Government officials have refused to say how much Saadi is seeking, but the Post understands it to be in the region of HK$26 million, a figure which has raised concerns among lawmakers.

The development comes more than a year after Saadi's lawyers sent a letter to the Department of Justice threatening legal action.

That letter demanded answers about the government's role in the arrest, detention, interrogation and forced repatriation of Saadi and his family, and accused Hong Kong authorities of conspiring with America's Central Intelligence Agency, its British counterpart MI6, and Libyan spies.

Last December, the UK government paid Saadi - a vocal opponent of Gaddafi and considered a terrorist by many Western governments - and his family £2.2 million (HK$26 million) in compensation for the rendition, without admitting any liability.

That is the same figure being considered by Hong Kong officials, the Post understands.

The possibility of such a payout has prompted lawmakers to demand the government come clean on its role in the case.

"I'm more concerned about the flouting of the rule of law," Civic Party lawmaker and lawyer Ronny Tong Ka-wah said.

"We treasure our rule of law, so if we surreptitiously forced someone onto a flight with total disregard for the city's rule of law, it's not a matter of how much we have to pay, but of who the culprit is. What are the reasons behind this unconstitutional and unlawful act?"

Tong added: "If we have to pay something like HK$20 million-odd, the government has to come to Legco for funding, and that would be the time to demand greater detail."

Beijing-loyalist lawmaker Chan Kam-lam said any request for funding would prompt great scrutiny of the case.

"They have to give us enough reasons to provide the money," he said yesterday.

In a joint statement, the Security Bureau and the Department of Justice said Saadi's lawyers had "indicated their intention to assert a claim against the government'', adding: "At this stage, it would not be appropriate for the government to make any comments."

The case is the first in which Hong Kong has been identified as a player in the secret CIA rendition programme that followed the September 11 terror attacks, with suspects and innocent individuals secretly rounded up, jailed and tortured, many in so-called black jails.

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CatInAFlap
Jesus stoatmonster, you are a heartless, myopic, ****. One day, when you are deep in the ****, I hope no-cnut comes to help you. It's all you deserve, you bottom-feeding, brain dead, moron.
stoatmonster
Love it: you make me chuckle :-)
stoatmonster
It's a shame that Gaddafi (also a terrorist) and his henchmen didn't put Saadi out of his misery and see him buried six feet under ground. The British taxpayer would have then been saved from having to fork out £2.2 million in compensation and the HKSAR Goverment would not now be wringing its hands over whether it should or should not settle a similar claim.
blue
Stoutmonster, you really are a piece of sh.it.

To your small mind, it seems everyone is a terrorist: Snowden, Saadi, and Gaddafi.

It's terrifying that cretins such as yourself are actually in power and feel justified to deny due process because they have a "hunch" about somebody rather than hard evidence.

Your disregard for human life is absolutely appalling too. Are you a sociopath?
henleyhk
"Also a terrorist"? In addition to whom? Al-Saadi was a Libyan dissident under the Gadaffi regime (who wouldn't be?!). I am not aware that Al-Saadi has been convicted of a terrorist offence, so why label him a terrorist? Just because he was wanted by the Libyan authorities and the Americans, British and Chinese conspired to kidnap him and torture him? Who's the terrorist?! If we have abandoned the presumption of innocence, then tyranny has already arrived. The British taxpayer got off lightly, which is more than can be said for Al-Saadi and his family. I hope the HK government does not settle and that the whole matter goes instead before an open court. Fat chance!
chaz_hen
Kind of like the "leaders" in the HKSAR gov't always wringing their hands trying to figure out what "do the right thing" means...
chaz_hen
Rule of Law...Rule of Law...three overused and hollow words these days. Here's a guy branded a "terrorist" because of his ANTI Gaddafi stance and gets tortured by secret organizations like the CIA (also from a Rule of Law country) who later actively worked on Gaddafi's downfall?
He deserves a lot more than HK$26 million for the HK Governments role as stooge to the CIA and British "intelligence".
Surely China had something complicit in this too as they want so badly to use their cooperation in the "war on terror" as a legitimate way to crush any Tibetans or Uighurs at home.
bolshoi
Wow, this bloke is getting loaded...
henleyhk
How can mere money compensate a family for torture, loss of liberty and betrayal by the law? How does a family come to terms with life after that? How does it rebuild?
As a matter of principle, I hope Mr Al-Saadi's lawyers extract a sum of money from the **** who run this town that makes them wince. It's the only way to make them understand.
henleyhk
Shame on the Security Bureau. Shame on the Department of "Justice." Shame on HK, whose much-vaunted rule of law is exposed by this case as the sham it really is. I have no idea whether or not Mr Al-Saadi had committed a crime, but he is innocent until proven guilty and fully entitled to the full protections of the law until convicted. Instead, the HK government appears to have kidnapped him and sent him off to be tortured. I hope Mr Tong and his colleagues in Legco do a thorough job of holding the feet of the gangsters in the HK administration to the fire on this case. We all need to know where we stand. At the very least, anybody who had anything at all to do with making this decision who is still in the public service should be fired. Whether still employed or not, they should go to gaol as a warning to other bureaucrats that HK people will not tolerate tyranny.

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