Monday, July 26, 2010

Uncovered: Britain’s secret rendition programme

Until now, this country has been guilty only by association in the illegal transfer of prisoners. But the covert rendition of a Moroccan man by MI5 agents suggests that the practice was central to Britain’s ‘war on terror’

By Robert Verkaik, Home Affairs Editor, The Independent/UK, July 23, 2010

MI5 was directly involved in the rendition of a Moroccan national, illegally taken from a Belgian prison to work for Britain’s Security Services in London, an investigation by The Independent has discovered.

The man, now aged 29 and who cannot be named for his own safety, was secretly transferred from a Brussels jail in April 2004 and then further held and interrogated by senior MI5 officers at a secret base near London.

Documents seen by The Independent show that in September 2003 a Belgian court sentenced the man to four years in prison for the use of false documents and association with terror suspects. Yet less than a year later Home Office papers reveal that the Moroccan, who was born in Rabat, was in Britain and had been granted leave to remain in the UK by the British Government.

The Home Office document, dated 4 November 2004, says: “It has been decided that the Secretary of State’s discretion should be exercised in your favour and you have been granted limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom for a reason not covered by the Immigration Rules.”

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