The U.K.’s sovereignty over the Chagos Islands and the American lease on military base Diego Garcia–which has been subjected to Malaysia Airlines conspiracy theories in recent days–could be called into question.
An international court hearing will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, reported The Guardian. The island nation of Mauritius launched a legal claim over the Chagos Islands three years ago and it could return Diego Garcia and the other islands back to the territory. Hundreds of islands were forced to leave and many live in Britain now.
Diego Garcia has come under scrutiny in recent days after conspiracy theories claimed that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane landed there. However, the U.S. Embassy official and even the White House refuted those claims last week.
A few months ago Mauritian prime minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam said to the UN’s general assembly: “The dismemberment of part of our territory, the Chagos archipelago – prior to independence – by the then colonial power, the United Kingdom, in clear breach of international law, leaves the process of decolonisation not only of Mauritius, but of Africa, incomplete.”
He continued: “I am confident that the UK and the US would want to be on the right side of history. States which look to the law and to the rules of the comity of nations for the resolution of disputes should not be frustrated by the lack of avenues under international law for settlement of these disputes.”
There were also reports that Diego Garcia was used as a “black site” jail for CIA operations. A Libyan rebel commander and opponent of Moammar Gadhafi, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, said he was taken there and tortured before he was forcibly returned to Libya from Malaysia, RT.com reported.
The U.K. Foreign Office has disputed Belhaj’s claims.