CIA, M16 'aided regime'
Documents found in the abandoned Tripoli office of Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief indicate US and British spy agencies helped the fallen strongman persecute Libyan dissidents, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.
The documents were uncovered by campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the abandoned offices of Libya's former spy chief and foreign minister, Moussa Koussa.
The group said it uncovered hundreds of letters between the CIA, MI6 and Koussa, who is now in exile in London. Letters from the CIA began, "Dear Moussa" and were signed informally with first names only by CIA officials, HRW said.
The current military commander for Tripoli of Libya's provisional government, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, was among those captured and sent to Libya by the CIA, according to HRW. "Among the files we discovered at Moussa Koussa's office is a fax from the CIA dated 2004 in which the CIA informs the Libyan government that they are in a position to capture and render Belhaj," HRW's Peter Bouckaert said.
"That operation actually took place. He was captured by the CIA in Asia and put on a secret flight back to Libya where he was interrogated and tortured by the Libyan security services."
Belhaj claimed that he was tortured by CIA agents before being transferred to Libya, where he says he was then tortured at Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim prison.
The CIA has not commented directly on the HRW report. A British government spokesman said that Britain did "not comment on intelligence matters".