PRIME Minister Theresa May has apologised for UK’s role in the “appalling treatment” of a Libyan dissident and his pregnant wife over their rendition to Libya.

Gaddafi opponent Abdul Hakim Belhaj and partner Fatima Boudchar were transferred to Libya from Thailand in 2004.

The pair were picked up by US authorities thanks to a tip-off from MI6 and taken into custody under the toppled dictator.

Belhaj, now a politician in Libya, says he was tortured during six years imprisonment and Boudchar was released shortly before giving birth.

She and son Abderrahim were at the House of Commons yesterday to hear the apology read out by Attorney General Jeremy Wright, who confirmed a compensation payout of £500,000.

The apology said their treatment had been “appalling”, going on: “The UK Government’s actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering. The UK Government shared information about you with its international partners.”

The transfer happened while Tony Blair was in Downing Street, taking place a fortnight before the so-called “deal in the desert” meeting between the Labour leader and Gaddafi.

The letter said that the UK had “sought information” about the couple’s fate during their detention. It went on: “We wrongly missed opportunities to alleviate your plight: this should not have happened.

“On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, I apologise unreservedly.

“We are profoundly sorry for the ordeal that you both suffered and our role in it.”

Boudchar said she looks forward to “rebuilding” her life and Belhaj said: “At last, justice has been done.”

SNP justice and Home Affairs spokesperson Joanna Cherry QC called for policy changes and “categorical assurances that this could never happen again”.