Libya, ICC France in race to try Gadhafi spy

Libya, ICC France in race to try Gadhafi spy

Libya is determined to try former spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi who was arrested in Mauritania, the justice minister said yesterday, as France and the International Criminal Court (ICC) also seek his extradition.

“Our courts are very good, even excellent, especially in Tripoli and we are able to carry out his trial according to international standards,” Ali Hmeida Ashur told Agence France-Presse.

Mauritania on March 17 arrested Moammar Gadhafi’s ex-spy chief as he arrived on an overnight flight, officials said. “He was arrested this morning in Nouakchott airport and there was a young man with him. We think it is his son,” Reuters quoted Libyan government spokesman Nasser al-Manee as saying, confirming a Mauritanian state news agency report earlier that al-Senoussi had been arrested with a false Malian passport arriving from Casablanca.

Al-Senoussi, who for decades before the late dictator’s fall inspired fear and hatred in ordinary Libyans, is also sought by the Hague-based ICC on charges of crimes against humanity during last year’s conflict. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said France helped in the arrest and also wanted him extradited to face justice there. Al-Senoussi faced an international arrest warrant after a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life for involvement in the downing of a French airliner in 1989 that killed 170 people. Al-Senoussi could also be held accountable in Libya for the Abu Salim prison massacre of 1996 when more than 1,000 detainees were gunned down.