Libyan team leaves Mauritania without Senussi

March 21, 2012

Reuters on March 21, 2012 released the following:

“By Laurent Prieur

(Reuters) – A Libyan delegation left Mauritania on Wednesday without Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, but the Libyan government spokesman said Senussi’s extradition was expected soon.

Libya is vying with France and the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) to try Gaddafi’s former right-hand man, arrested on Friday when he flew in to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott using a false passport.

Mauritanian sources played down Libyan suggestions that a deal to extradite Senussi was almost finalized and said other countries also had a say in the case.

“We have an assurance from Mauritania that it will extradite … Senussi, but there are legal procedures which must be respected and we will wait,” Libyan government spokesman Nasser al-Manee told reporters before boarding the plane.

“No date has been set for his physical extradition, but it will be soon,” he added. A diplomatic source said the plane later took off as scheduled.

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagour, leading the delegation, said after talks with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on Tuesday that Aziz had given his consent to Senussi’s extradition, adding he would “soon be in a Libyan prison.”

Mauritanian sources differed. “The principle of Senussi’s extradition to Libya has been agreed,” said a source close to the Mauritanian presidency. “What remain to be determined are details like the timing,” the source added.

“It’s not just Mauritania and Libya that can settle this,” a Mauritanian security source said, adding that the West African state, a former French colony heavily dependent on foreign aid, acknowledged that other countries should also have a say in Senussi’s fate.

HELD BEHIND A HIGH WALL

The source declined to elaborate but several rights groups have said they doubt whether Senussi, 62, would have a fair trial in Libya and say he would be better transferred to the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity.

Aziz, an army general who seized power in 2008 and won elections a year later decried by rivals as rigged, has enjoyed solid support from Paris that has helped him win international respectability and an IMF funding program.

France wants Senussi in connection with a 1989 airliner bombing over Niger in which 54 of its nationals died. A second Mauritanian security source told Reuters on Tuesday France was arguing that its claim had priority because it had helped in last week’s arrest of the ex-spy chief.

Senussi is understood to be in detention in the main police training school in Nouakchott. The facility – surrounded by a high wall blocking the view from outside – was the only one that combined adequate security with a degree of comfort for Senussi, local security sources said.

Senussi is suspected of a key role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer acting for relatives of the victims that sparked Libya’s Arab Spring revolt in February last year.

His name has also been linked to the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland of a Pan Am jet that killed 270 people. A diplomatic source said on Tuesday the United States was keen to question him about that attack.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Libya says Mauritania agrees Senussi extradition

March 20, 2012

Reuters on March 20, 2012 released the following:

“By Laurent Prieur and Hadeel al Shachi

(Reuters) – Mauritania has agreed that Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, arrested in Nouakchott last week, can be extradited to Libya, Libya’s deputy prime minister said.

The decision, if implemented, sets Libya on a collision course with France and the international war crimes court in The Hague, which also want Senussi, Gaddafi’s right-hand man before the Libyan dictator’s overthrow and death in a popular revolt last year.

“I have met the President of Mauritania and he agreed to the extradition of Senussi to Libya,” Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagour wrote on Twitter on Tuesday in a comment conformed as official by a Libyan government representative.

Senussi, whose whereabouts had been unclear for months, was arrested at Mauritania’s Nouakchott airport late on Friday when he stepped off a flight from Morocco.

A senior Libyan delegation to Mauritania feted President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for his “brave stance” in arresting Senussi and during talks at his presidency stressed that Senussi should be extradited to Libya.

“We greatly appreciate the position of the president who promised us that good will come of this matter,” said a statement attributed to Shagour earlier and issued by Mauritania’s official news agency AMI.

France and the International Criminal Court also want Senussi. The ICC has indicted him for crimes against humanity, while he is also alleged to have had a role in the 1989 bombing of an airliner in which 54 French nationals died.

“We want Senussi to be extradited to France. We feel we owe it to the victims’ families and to justice,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said of a step that would allow France to confirm the life sentence already handed down to Senussi in absentia by a French court.

LOCKERBIE BOMBING

Separately, diplomatic sources said the United States – which on Monday confirmed it had contacts with Mauritania over Senussi – had requested access to him before any transfer.

“The Americans put in a request to Mauritanian authorities yesterday (Monday) morning to be able to meet Senussi while he is still in Mauritania, said one diplomatic source. A second diplomat also confirmed the request had been made.

No comment was immediately available either from the Mauritanian or U.S. governments.

Senussi’s name has been linked to the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland of a Pan Am jet that killed 270 people. A State Department spokeswoman said on Monday the United States had long expressed an interest in talking to him about it.

Human rights groups doubt Senussi, 62, will have a fair trial in Libya and have called for his transfer to the ICC.

Amnesty International described the Libyan judicial system as “paralyzed”, noting it had not successfully investigated the death of prisoners in rebel detention or high-profile cases like the death of former military chief Abdel-Fattah Younis.

“The Libyan judiciary has done nothing. It has held no one accountable and has not investigated a single case yet,” Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera told Reuters.

However, Deputy Justice Minister Khalifa Faraj Ashour told Reuters in Tripoli the former intelligence chief would be tried fairly in his home country.

“Security is good, the courts are working fine in almost all of the country,” he said. “Even if there is a security breach once in a while, we can deal with it.”

“HIDDEN MONEY”

Ashour said it was too early to discuss what charges Senussi could face in Libya. Interpol has issued a Red Notice for him at Libya’s request for fraud offences including embezzling public funds and misuse of power for personal benefit.

“In general, we can say one of the crimes is financial corruption. He knows a lot about hidden money,” Ashour said.

Senussi is also suspected of a key role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer for victims’ relatives that sparked Libya’s Arab Spring revolt in February last year.

“Senussi being handed over to Libya and tried here would be a great support for the Libyan revolution and the country’s courts,” Ashour said. “You have to realize that he committed many other crimes in Libya before the revolution.”

According to Mauritanian security sources, Senussi, who for decades was hated and feared by many ordinary Libyans, is being held in the main police training school in Nouakchott.

The sources said the facility – which is surrounded by a high wall blocking all view from outside – was the only one which could keep Senussi in sufficient security while affording him a degree of comfort.

According to two sources, a team of military doctors including Aziz’s personal medic performed a medical check on Senussi on Sunday while he was still being held at a residence in the grounds of Nouakchott’s international conference centre.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.