SYDNEY, June 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. government told the former head of Australia's spy agency it wanted to render Mamdouh Habib to Egypt for questioning, an official said.
Former Security Intelligence Organization Director-General Dennis Richardson has never publicly acknowledged the request was made, but his successor, Paul O'Sullivan, said Richardson was told about the rendition plan weeks before the Sydney father of four was sent to Egypt, The Australian reported Friday.
The comments contradict government claims that Australia had no knowledge of Habib's rendition until after he had been transferred to Egypt, where he was held and tortured for more than six months before being taken to Guantanamo Bay.
He was released in January 2005 and has never been charged with any terrorism-related offense.
Richardson, who serves as Australia's ambassador to the United States, refused to comment on the report. Australian Sen. Kerry Nettle said the revelation shows the government knew Habib would be taken to Egypt and did nothing.
"The attorney general must establish a public judicial inquiry into what the Australian government and its agencies knew about the rendition of Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib and what they did about it," Nettle said.
Habib is suing the Australian government, arguing it was complicit in his kidnap and transfer to Egypt.