Family: Lockerbie Suspect's Extradition Was Illegal

Libya is opening a probe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2022 3:10 AM CST
Family: Lockerbie Suspect's Extradition Was Illegal
Paul Hudson of Sarasota, Fla., holds up a photo of his daughter Melina who was killed at 16 years old along with the photos of almost a hundred other victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in Washington, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Libya's chief prosecutor on Wednesday said that he had opened an investigation into the extradition of a Libyan national accused of making the bomb that downed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, to the United States, the AP reports. US authorities announced they had arrested former intelligence officer Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi on Sunday. The following day he appeared in federal court in Washington, DC, and was charged with an act of international terrorism. Speaking with reporters in Tripoli, prosecutor Al-Siddiq Al-Sour said the investigation has been opened following a complaint from Mas'ud's family that his extradition was not lawful. Al-Sour later confirmed the investigation with the AP but did not provide further details.

Libya and the US have no formal extradition agreement. Mas'ud was kidnapped from his family home in Tripoli by armed men in November, according to a statement issued by his family shortly after the event. The family blames authorities in Libya's capital Tripoli for the alleged kidnapping and extradition, it added. Masud’s family have released no official comment since that statement and did not respond to the AP’s request for comment. Torn by civil war since 2011, Libya is divided between the government of Prime Minister Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli and a rival government based in eastern Libya headed by Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha.

In western Libya, militia groups have amassed great wealth and power from kidnappings and their involvement in the country’s lucrative human trafficking trade. The official spokesman for Libya’s Tripoli government did not respond to a request for comment about the investigation. According to Jalel Harchaoui, a North Africa-focused analyst, a proper investigation into how Mas'ud was taken, detained, and transferred would likely uncover illegal steps. “The investigation is unlikely to take place unless Debibah and his support base grow significantly weaker,” Harchaoui said. On Tuesday, Bashagha labelled Mas’ud’s extradition as illegal and called for the former intelligence officer’s immediate release.

(More Lockerbie stories.)

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