UK to pay Libyan over $ 3 m to settle rendition case

Updated 13 December 2012
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UK to pay Libyan over $ 3 m to settle rendition case

LONDON: Britain has agreed to pay £ 2.2 million ($ 3.5 million) to a Libyan dissident who said British secret services played a role in his illegal rendition, his lawyers said yesterday.
Sami Al-Saadi, a leading opponent of Muammar Qaddafi, said he was forcibly transferred to Libya from Hong Kong along with his wife and four children in 2004 in a joint British-US-Libyan operation.
He said he was imprisoned and tortured after his return to Libya.
The British government said it had reached a settlement — believed to be £ 2.2 million — but said it has not admitted liability.
“We can confirm that the government and the other defendants have reached a settlement with the claimants,” a government spokeswoman said. “There has been no admission of liability and no finding by any court of liability.”
Al-Saadi said although he wanted Britain to acknowledge its role in his rendition, he was now ending his legal action.
“I started this process believing that a British trial would get to the truth in my case,” he said.
“But today, with the government trying to push through secret courts, I feel that to proceed is not best for my family.
“I went through a secret trial once before, in Qaddafi’s Libya. In many ways, it was as bad as the torture. It is not an experience I care to repeat.
“Even now, the British government has never given an answer to the simple question: ‘Were you involved in the kidnap of me, my wife and my children?’
“I think the payment speaks for itself. We will be donating a portion of the proceeds to support other Libyan torture victims.”
Al-Saadi also said he would use the payment for his children’s education in the “new, free Libya”, and to cover medical care for the injuries he received in prison.
His lawyers said evidence of British involvement in the rendition operation emerged after the overthrow of Qaddafi’s regime, in CIA correspondence with Libyan intelligence which was found in an office belonging to Moussa Koussa, the head of Qaddafi’s intelligence agency.
It apparently stated: “We are. . . aware that your service had been co-operating with the British to effect (Sami Al-Saadi’s) removal to Tripoli. . . . The Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render (Sami Al-Saadi) and his family into your custody.”
Britain still faces a further allegation of rendition from Abdelhakim Belhaj, who became Tripoli’s military commander after Qaddafi was ousted.


Firefighters tackle blaze in high-rise tower in Dubai

Updated 22 April 2018
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Firefighters tackle blaze in high-rise tower in Dubai

DUBAI: A fire broke out Sunday at a prominent skyscraper in Dubai, sending smoke billowing from its roof and those inside fleeing into the streets.
Firefighters and police on the scene of the blaze at the Almas Tower in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers neighborhood.
The government’s Dubai Media Office described the blaze as a “minor fire.”
“All employees and visitors are being evacuated and no injuries have been reported so far,” the Dubai Media Office wrote on Twitter.


The Almas Tower, over 60 stories tall, is home to the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, which is also an economic free zone. The DMCC had hosted a conference earlier Sunday in partnership with Asia House called “The New Global Trade Order.”
The DMCC did not immediately answer a request for comment.

It was the tallest building in Dubai, until 2009, when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa. It is primarily an office building and remains the tallest building at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers cluster off Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road.
Dubai, a skyscraper-studded city in the United Arab Emirates, has suffered a spate of fires in its high-rises.
Dubai passed new fire safety rules last year requiring that quick-burning side paneling on buildings be replaced with more fire-resistant cladding. Authorities have previously acknowledged that at least 30,000 buildings across the UAE have cladding or paneling that safety experts have said accelerates the rapid spread of fires.