Rendition victim gets £500000 compensation as May apologises ‘unreservedly’ for UK’s conduct – Politics live

A spokesperson for the digital, culture, media, and sport committee said MPs also expected to learn on Monday whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would respond to his formal summons to attend a hearing before the end of the current parliamentary session.

MPs have been consistently frustrated in their efforts to convince the social network boss to appear. One possibility is that he could give evidence via video link and officials are attempting to co-ordinate an evidence session with his speculated appearance in front of the European Parliament.

The spokesperson also confirmed that unlike in 2011, when MPs despatched the deputy Serjeant at Arms in person to hand-deliver a formal summons to Rupert Murdoch, both Alexander Nix and Dominic Cummings were informed of the requests over email. (See 4.01pm.)

The former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has said he will withdraw from a Christian conference where organisers said churches were “wavering under the onslaught of the gay lobby” and claimed Muslim immigration was causing problems for Christians.

Farron, who came under fire for his beliefs about gay sex during the election campaign, said he had not seen the promotional material when he agreed to speak at the Northern Mens’ Convention, run by Christian Conventions.

A pamphlet advertising the conference, which is billed as “hold the word of God in the worst of times” has been circulated on Twitter. “Even in biblical teaching churches, many appear to be wavering under the onslaught of the gay lobby, Add to this the scenario the increasing problems associated with immigration and Islam in particular and indeed many other things which push Christians further and further to the margins.”

Farron is billed in the same pamphlet as one of the speakers.

Rendition victim gets £500000 compensation as May apologises ‘unreservedly’ for UK’s conduct – Politics live


But wait. There’s more. For those playing Bigotry Bingo at home, we’ve got some Islamophobia thrown in too! pic.twitter.com/3emNBwxUBi

May 9, 2018

The MP said he would no longer attend.

“I agreed many months ago to attend a church-organised event but just today I’ve seen promotional material for it which contains things I’m deeply concerned and saddened by,” he tweeted. “As a result, I have withdrawn from the event.”

Tim Farron

I agreed many months ago to attend a church-organised event but just today I’ve seen promotional material for it which contains things I’m deeply concerned and saddened by. As a result, I have withdrawn from the event.

May 10, 2018

Party activists expressed outrage at the billing. Jennie Rigg, the chair of LGBT Lib Dems, tweeted it was a “sexist, racist and homophobic” event. She said she had lost faith in Farron. “I’m sorry I ever defended him and I’m sorry to those of you I defended him to. I got it wrong. I apologise.”

Jennie Rigg

Tim Farron is the star speaker at this sexist, racist AND homophobic event (many more details in the thread).
I’m sorry I ever defended him, and I’m sorry to those of you I defended him to. I got it wrong. I apologise. https://t.co/jk8DcCtLec

May 10, 2018

The party said it would not be taking any further action now Farron had pulled out.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj has been holding a press conference in Turkey following the government’s announcement of a settlement to his rendition case.

  • Belhaj welcomed the outcome, thanked Theresa May, and said the settlement brought him joy.

There is no doubt that our arrival at this end point, which I consider to be the realisation of the justice that I sought, and which required great patience. We lived through these stages, a continuation of the suffering we endured in jail, including torture and bad conditions. There is no doubt that we are filled with joy, and we value this step that is a realisation of justice that we all must seek, regardless of our identity, culture, religion or geography.

  • He said he particularly appreciated the reaction from MPs.

What I saw from the responses of the MPs today, it was like a balm, and I felt that there were those who saw the need for laws and guarantees to prevent this from happening again.

  • He said he was always after just an apology, not compensation.

From the very first moment, I insisted that there must be an apology. I never asked for monetary compensation because I don’t want to impose on the taxpayers, and so I can put a quick end to this suffering, but what led us to the courts is the rejection of the demand for an apology. I welcome this step, the acceptance of the apology condition, and I hope this is not repeated with someone else.

Asked if the apology he received was sufficient, he said that having to wait so long had made things worse but that what mattered was the result in the end. He said:

The wording of the apology was heartfelt. There was a feeling of concern, an admission of the shortcomings, an expression of unreserved apology, lessons learned, admission of failings and an expression of disappointment towards the international partners that I was handed over to. All of these sentiments that came through in the apology, I welcome them.

  • He said President Trump’s decision to nominate Gina Haspel as director of the CIA was a “step in the wrong direction”. Asked about her nomination, he said:

I think the American administration is acting with arrogance and negativity in particular towards the Muslim world. What does it mean for someone to be elevated and honoured, someone who oversaw a secret prison in Thailand where torture was being practiced? That is a step in the wrong direction and an expression of poor intent towards the other, and it is regrettable.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj speaking at a press conference in Turkey Photograph: Sky News

At first minister’s questions in the Scottish parliament at lunchtime the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on Nicola Sturgeon to back a second EU referendum, noting that a number of senior SNP figures had given it their support.

Sturgeon responded that it was “not the SNP that is going to be a block for a second referendum”, but that the Lib Dem’s would be better off trying to convince Labour in Westminster, though she didn’t hold out much hope given their stance on the customs union.

She added that the hope in holding a second referendum would be to produce a different result. She went on:

But the problem in Scotland is that our remain vote was entirely ignored. What guarantee can Willie Rennie give that our remain vote would not be ignored entirely again?

Fatima Boudchar emerged from parliament at 1.30pm to appear before the cameras triumphant holding up a copy of the letter of apology she received from the prime minister. Speaking through an interpreter, she said: “The British government has apologised after six years.”

Sapna Malik, a partner at the law firm Leigh Day which represented Boudchar and her husband, said:

After six years the government has accepted that there ate lines that should not be crossed.

Fatima Boudchar outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Fatima Boudchar holds up a written apology from Theresa May over the UK’s role in Boudchar and Belhaj’s rendition and torture. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Cori Crider, the lawyer who is representing the Belhaj family on behalf of the human rights organisation Reprieve, said that the extent of the government’s apology was unprecedented. She said:

It’s broader and deeper and more sincere than apology we have seen from the war on terror. We are very gratified by it.

They have said point blank that they believe the accounts given by Abdul Hakim and Fatima.

We have withdrawn the judicial review challenge against the DPP’s decision not to prosecute anyone for the rendition because the apology us so comprehensive.

This is the close of the matter for the UK. We said we are prepared to walk away for the apology and that is what we have done.

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