Having through military force assisted in the overthrow of Colonel Gadaffi, the British government cannot absolve itself of responsibility for the fate of Seif al-Islam, and for ensuring that he is neither tortured nor killed. The government of Libya is legally within its rights in trying him in Libya rather than at ICC, provided the trial covers the charges before the ICC. The evidence of Seif al-Islam’s guilt of war crimes is not immediately apparent. Certainly the charge of hiring mercenaries on one side of the civil war rather pales in comparison to the devastation wreaked by NATO in bombing cities on the other.
But Gadaffi’s son is just one man. There are many who must be held accountable for torture, rape and murder, and at the moment there is no compelling evidence that these crimes were more prevalent from one faction in the civil war than another. You will not ehar that from a British government spokesman. Their view of responsibility for what happens next in Libya focuses on ensuring that the owners of British corporations and banks benefit.
Which brings me back to the question of the Malyshevs, deported by the British government as failed asylum seekers back to the hideous regime in Tashkent.
Six weeks later, the British government has still not given any substantive response to the public and MPs who wrote to them expressing concern at their disappearance. The last news that we had was that Nina’s daughter Helena, who remains legally in the UK, contacted her local MP in great distress asking that all campaigning stop and no more questions be asked. I am afraid that is almost certainly a sign that Nina and Mikel – who nobody has yet sighted – are still under great threat from the Uzbek authorities and the usual means of pressure are being applied.
I am told that three more deportations to Uzbekistan are in the pipeline. The British government cannot demonstrate that deportees will be safe – because they will not be. It is completely irresponsible, indeed deeply shameful, to deport people back to Karimov in these circumstances.