A Libyan claimant dealt a major blow to government claims that secret courts are needed to prevent multimillion-pound payouts today, saying he'd settle his case for £3 and an apology.
Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and wife Fatima Boudchar - opponents of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi - are suing the British government, former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former MI6 counter-terrorism director Mark Allen over their alleged role in the couple's 2004 rendition and torture.
Documents surfaced after the fall of the Gaddafi regime showing that Mr Allen had written to Libyan spy chief Moussa Koussa to say that while the US paid the "air cargo" for the rendition the "intelligence … was British."
The pair argue that Mr Straw would have had to sign off on the MI6 operation as foreign secretary.
Ken Clarke - the otherwise jobless minister responsible for the Justice and Security Bill - has claimed that secret courts are needed to prevent the government being forced to pay out in cases it can't defend because of security concerns.
But Mr Belhaj wrote to the defendents, saying: "I am making an open offer to settle our litigation.
"My wife and I are willing to end our case against the UK government and Messrs Straw and Allen in exchange for a token compensation of a British pound from each defendant, an apology and an admission of liability for what was done to us."
He adds: "Various media reports I have seen suggest that our motive for bringing this case is to enrich ourselves. I wish to lay this misconception to rest.
"We have come to court in Britain because we believe your courts can deliver justice."
Legal action charity Repreive legal director Cori Crider said: "What our clients want from the government is an admission, an apology and an explanation of how this was allowed to happen.
"The next time the government repeats its mantra that secret courts will save the public purse, remember - this family was willing to walk away for £3."
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