Libyan Bashagha: Lockerbie extradition is ‘illegal’

One of Libya’s two rival leaders suggested on Sunday a suspect in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing may have been illegally extradited.

Fathi Bashagha, the prime minister recognized by Libya’s eastern parliament, based in the city of Tobruk, tweeted his concerns amid reports Abu Agela Masud Kheir Al-Marimi was in US custody.

He didn’t mention the suspect by name, instead referring to the “extradition of a Libyan citizen”.

Al-Marimi, a Libyan intelligence official accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, will face federal charges in Washington, the US Justice Department said on Sunday.

Bashagha tweeted on Sunday that it was “imperative for all of us to respect human rights and to try any accused under a legal framework and with transparent judicial procedures that guarantee the accused his natural right to defend himself”.

“We fear that the extradition process took place outside the legal frameworks and without the supervision of the Libyan judiciary,” he said.

This would be a flagrant violation of Libyan law, the independence of the judiciary, and an infringement of state sovereignty, he added.

Bashagha rejected terrorism and supports accountability for criminals so long as this happens with transparency and in line with proper legal measures.

“Everyone who has contributed to breaching the law, violating the sovereignty of the state and compromising the independence of the national judiciary shall bear a moral and patriotic responsibility that national history will not erase from memory,” he said.

The US Justice Department confirmed in a statement that Masud was in American custody, following an announcement by Scottish prosecutors, without saying how the suspect ended up in US hands.

A Justice Department spokesperson said Masud was expected to make an initial appearance in a federal court in the US capital at an unspecified date.

According to The New York Times, Masud was arrested by the FBI and is in the process of being extradited to the United States to face prosecution.

Scottish officials gave no information on when Masud was handed over.

In November 2021, Najla Mangoush, the foreign minister for Libya’s western government, which is based in Tripoli, responded to a BBC question about whether extradition was possible that he was open to “collaboration in this matter”.

Local Libyan media reported he had been kidnapped by armed men on 16 November from his home in Tripoli and accused the government there of being silent on the abduction.

Masud was charged by the US two years ago for the Lockerbie bombing – in which Americans made up a majority of the 270 killed.

Only one individual has so far been prosecuted for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which remains the deadliest terror attack on British soil.

Masud had previously been held in Libya for alleged involvement in a 1986 attack on a Berlin nightclub.




Arab Observer

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