The former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, is facing legal action from a Libyan military commander, over claims Mr Straw signed papers allowing his rendition.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj claims that CIA agents, with the help of MI6 took him from Thailand to Libya, via UK-controlled Diego Garcia, and they are alleging that Straw was complicit in the “torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, batteries and assaults” that they say were perpetrated on them by Thai and US agents, as well as Libyan authorities.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Belhadj have already launched proceedings against the British government; however this latest action is against Straw personally, and is thought to be the first time proceedings of this kind have been taken against a former foreign secretary.

Mr Belhadj’s lawyers said: “We have said all along that liability must follow the chain of command.

“These latest revelations bring us closer to that goal. If the former foreign secretary does not now own up to his role in this extraordinary affair, he will need to face the prospect of trying to defend his position in court.”

Along with facing the civil action served against him by Mr Belhadj, Jack Straw also faces the prospect of being questioned by Scotland Yard detectives after an announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service earlier this year that a criminal investigation was being launched into the rendition operation.