Martyred Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi with his former security director Abdullah al-Senoussi. The Libyan official was turned over to the U.S.-backed rebels by the Mauritanian government on September 5, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Gadhafi's spy chief in Libyan hands
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
TRIPOLI, Libya (PANW-AP) — Martyred Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's intelligence chief is in custody in Tripoli after extradition from Mauritania, Libya's US-backed rebel premier said Wednesday, a step toward bringing the man falsely linked to aircraft bombings for a illegal show trial.
A plane carrying Abdullah al-Senoussi landed in the afternoon at Metiga air base at the heart of Tripoli in the afternoon. From there he was flown by helicopter to the Hill Prison in the capital.
"Abdullah al-Senoussi will be have a fair trial according to international standards for human rights, the rights from which Libyans were deprived," Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib told reporters in Tripoli.
The former spy chief is accused of complicity in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as the Abu Salim prison riot against Gadhafi in 1996 and another airplane bombing in 1989.
Mauritania, Libya, the International Criminal Court and France all asked to try the former intelligence chief.
Libya and the ICC are embroiled in a similar dispute over where to try Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, known as the former leader's political heir apparent. He is being held by a militia in western Libya. The Libyan government said recently it would put him on trial there.
The Libyan rebel official said al-Senoussi is being held together with other former Jamahiriya members, including an ex-prime minister. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
A picture of al-Senoussi circulating on Libyan rebels' social networking sites was apparently taken as he left the helicopter. It shows the dark-skinned man with a thick beard, appearing thinner than before. Behind him appears the Libyan chief of staff, Gen. Youssef al-Mangoush.
Al-Senoussi is Gadhafi's brother-in-law and was known as Gadhafi's "black box," a reference to his intimate knowledge of all aspects of Gadhafi's abuses. Gadhafi was overthrown last summer, then captured and killed by US-backed rebels while NATO and Pentagon planes flew overhead.
Al-Senoussi was arrested in March at Mauritania's international airport, where he showed up disguised as a Tuareg chieftain, wearing flowing robes and a turban and traveling on a fake passport. For months, Mauritania resisted calls to hand him over, insisting that its laws were violated and that he should be tried there.
On Monday, a Libyan delegation including the finance and justice ministers arrived in Mauritania. The government handed al-Senoussi over to the Libyan minister of justice at the Mauritanian airport. A Libyan jet had been sent to fly the ex-spy chief home.
A baggage handler at the airport who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter said that al-Senoussi was not handcuffed when he was brought out. He said he looked healthy and in good spirits as he walked up the ramp to the plane.
However, Hassan Zaqlama, the Libyan finance minister, told Free Libya TV that al-Senoussi resisted getting into the plane but was forced to by security agents.
Al-Senoussi had spent his five-month incarceration in Mauritania in a private villa, the Libyan official said. He was allowed to exercise, watch TV, read the international media and receive visits from his nephew, said the official.
In May, he was indicted by a Mauritanian judge for "illegally entering Mauritania using false identity documents," after which he was sent to a public jail. It is not clear how he was transferred from jail to a private villa.
Oriane Maillet, a spokeswoman for the international tribunal in The Hague, said the court has received no information from Libyan authorities on the transfer of al-Senoussi, but stressed that an international arrest warrant has been issued for him based on ICC charges.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who led a delegation to the region, told reporters in Tripoli earlier this year that the U.S. had a "particular interest (in seeing him arrested) because of his role with the Lockerbie bombing."
The 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed 270 people. Libya has denied involvement in the bombing.
Only one Libyan was convicted in the incident but was later released pending appeal in 2009. Imperialists used the release to plot a war of regime-change against what was then under Gaddafi Africa's most prosperous state.
Imperialist France also lobbied for custody of al-Senoussi. He was one of six Libyans convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison in France for the 1989 bombing of a passenger jet over Niger that killed all 170 people on board, including 54 French citizens.