Monday, March 19, 2012

Libya seeks Gaddafi spy chief handover by Mauritania

Senussi, 62, the last significant Gaddafi associate on the run since the dictator's overthrow and death in a popular revolt last year, was arrested in the West African state after his arrival late on Friday on a flight from Morocco. Senussi was being held at the headquarters of the Mauritania's security service in the capital Nouakchott, sources there said, and diplomatic sources said he was carrying several false passports when detained. Despite support from Interpol, Libya's interim government may get embroiled in a legal tug-of-war with France and the International Criminal Court (ICC) over Senussi as they also want to put him on trial.

Senussi, who for decades inspired fear and hatred among many Libyans, is sought by the Hague-based ICC on charges of crimes against humanity over security force attacks on anti-Gaddafi protesters during the eight-month uprising. Interpol, the international police organization based in Lyon, France, said it had issued a Red Notice for Senussi at Libya's behest requesting member states to arrest him, if found on their soil, for fraud offences including embezzling public funds and misuse of power for personal benefit.

A Libyan government spokesman said on Saturday Tripoli had sent a request for Senussi's handover through Interpol, while France had filed a competing extradition request, according to a presidential palace source. Interpol previously circulated a Red Notice for Senussi at the ICC's request in September 2011 for crimes against humanity. -libya-senussi-

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