By Julian Pecquet - 05/15/12 10:29 PM EDT
A popular Libyan rebel who says he was detained by the CIA and turned over to Moammar Gadhafi's forces eight years ago resigned as head of Tripoli's military council on Tuesday in order to launch his own political party, the UK's Telegraph reports.
The rise of Abdel Hakim Belhadj could prove to be a headache for the U.S. and Great Britain as more evidence of their collusion with Gadhafi's regime comes to light. Long an international pariah, Gadhafi became an ally of the west after giving up his weapons of mass destruction program in 2003 and collaborating in George W. Bush's War on Terror.
Belhadj at the time was a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was labeled an al-Qaeda affiliate. He was arrested at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2004 and allegedly whisked away to Tripoli under the CIA's secret rendition program.
Belhadj says he was tortured for years and has sued the British Foreign Service, which he says signed off on his rendition. He has also vowed to go after former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.