Dear Julian Sturdy,
I am writing to ask that you please attend Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on the UK’s involvement in rendition and torture.
Evidence of UK involvement in the CIA rendition programme has long been in the public domain, but we have not received any answers from the Government; not even an admission of UK government involvement. Therefore, I hope that you will consider attending the debate in order to help secure these answers and a true accounting for Britain’s complicity in renditions and subsequent torture.
In particular, I would like to bring to your attention the cases of two Libyan families who were kidnapped and rendered to Colonel Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004 in a joint CIA-MI6 operation. The al Saadi family consisted of a father, mother, and four children aged 12 and under. The Belhaj family included a heavily-pregnant woman, who was so severely mistreated during their ordeal her baby weighed just four pounds at birth.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recently announced that, despite having been handed over 28,000 pages of material by Metropolitan Police investigators, it would not be bringing charges over these renditions due to a ‘lack of evidence.’
The CPS decision, and the UK’s wider involvement in the CIA torture programme, is due to be debated by MPs this Wednesday (29 June). I am asking that you attend the debate and ensure that the following questions are asked so that the truth about UK involvement in rendition and torture can finally be determined and made public:
Will ministers support a truly independent review of the decision not to bring charges over the Libyan renditions?
Will the government make public what ministers in 2004 knew about the rendition, now that the CPS has revealed some “political authority” was sought for the operation? In particular, were ministers aware that A pregnant woman and children would be kidnapped?
Will the Government now honour its original pledge, made by the Prime Minister in July 2010, to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into British complicity in torture?
I hope that you are able to attend this debate and ensure that these questions are asked so that this opportunity to get to the truth is not missed.