Ken Clarke welcomes Government apology in Belhaj Libya rendition case

Ken Clarke welcomed today's apology by the government for the UK's complicity in the 2004 rendition of Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar, but said the government must now make good on its promises to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.

The government apology was contained in a letter from the Prime Minister to the couple, delivered today in Parliament by the Attorney General Jeremy Wright.  

Ken Clarke commented: "The fulsome apology today from the government for the complicity of UK officials in the rendition and torture of Mr Belhaj and Ms Boudchar is a victory for the rule of law. Given the fulsome nature of the apology, the question has to be asked why it has taken the government so long to settle this matter, particularly when Mr Belhaj offered to settle the case in 2013 for £3 and an apology. The delay is deeply regrettable."

He welcomed the Attorney General's assurances that this sort of thing would not happen again, but said these assurances must be followed up by actions.  He called for the the Intelligence and Security Committee inquiry into detainee mistreatment and rendition to fulfil its promise to report this year, saying it must "give a full account of what went wrong and why in this and other cases." 

Ken Clarke further called for the government to revise the Consolidated Guidance to ensure that it properly protects against rendition and unlawful detention.  

The FT reported Ken Clarke's comments here.

The Guardian reported Ken Clarke's comments here.