Ministers have agree to pay more than £2m to the family of a prominent Libyan dissident abducted with the help of MI6 and secretly flown to Tripoli where he was tortured by the security police of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The Saadi family had accepted a settlement of £2.23m, the high court heard on Thursday. The government paid the sum by way of compensation and without admitting any liability.
Evidence of the UK's role in the operation – believed to be the only case where an entire family was subjected to "extraordinary rendition" – came to light after Gaddafi's fall in 2011.
CIA correspondence with Libyan intelligence, found in the spy chief Moussa Koussa's office in Tripoli by Human Rights Watch, states: "We are … aware that your service had been co-operating with the British to effect [Saadi's] removal to Tripoli … the Hong Kong government may be able to co-ordinate with you to render [Saadi] and his family into your custody."
The operation was arranged in 2004 at the time of Tony Blair's "deal in the desert" with Gaddafi, after which UK intelligence services helped track down and hand over his opponents.
Another Libyan victim was Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who was rendered alongside his pregnant wife. A letter from the MI6 head of counter-terrorism Sir Mark Allen to Koussa, also found in Tripoli, said: "I congratulate you on the safe arrival of [Belhaj]. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya. I know I did not pay for the air cargo [but] the intelligence [on him] was British."