Mauritania extradites Gadhafi's spy chief to Libya

Mauritania has extradited to Libya Moammar Gadhafi

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011 file photo taken on a government-organized tour, Abdullah al-Senoussi, head of Libyan intelligence, speaks to the press as gunfire erupts all around the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — Mauritania has extradited to Libya Moammar Gadhafi's former spy chief, according to a government statement read on national radio on Wednesday.

The statement says that Libya's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi, was sent back to Libya on Wednesday morning, giving no further details. An official in the ministry of foreign affairs who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that al-Senoussi boarded a flight at 9 a.m. local time (0900 GMT) and was headed to Tripoli.

Libya, the International Criminal Court as well as France had all asked to try the former intelligence chief, who is accused of having helped orchestrate some of Gadhafi's worst crimes, including the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and the Abu Salim prison massacre of more than 1,200 prisoners by Gadhafi's regime in 1996.

Al-Senoussi was arrested at Mauritania's international airport in March, where he showed up disguised as a Tuareg chieftain, wearing flowing robes and a turban. He was traveling on a fake passport. For months, Mauritania resisted calls to hand him over, insisting that their laws had been violated and that he should be tried on Mauritanian soil.

Oriane Maillet, a spokeswoman for the ICC in The Hague, said the court has received no information yet 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.

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 airplane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland killed 270 people. The only person convicted in the bombing was returned to Libya in 2009.

France also quickly lobbied to get 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 people.

Al-Senoussi is known as Gadhafi's "black box."
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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