News Column

Libya Summons U.S. Envoy, Wants al-Libi Back

October 8, 2013

Big News Network (United Arab Emirates)

TRIPOLI -- In the first official statement, Libya's top political authority Tuesday demanded that the US hand back suspected al-Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi who was captured by US Marines from the capital Tripoli in a weekend raid.

A statement by the General National Congress read out by spokesman Omar Hmidan described the US operation as a "flagrant violation of (Libya's) national sovereignty".

It also calls for the "need to allow the Libyan authorities and members of his family to get in touch with him and guarantee him access to a lawyer".

The development comes as Libya's justice minister held a "cordial" meeting with U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones on the capture of al Libi.

The session was "all very cordial albeit with concerns," one of the officials said.

The meeting had previously been described as a "summoning," a more formal diplomatic term frequently used when one country wants to express displeasure with another.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Tuesday that Libyans accused of crimes should be tried at home, but that the raid would not harm ties with Washington.

His remarks reflected a desire to preserve relations with the US without provoking a backlash from Islamist militants who control swathes of Libya, an OPEC oil producer.

Militant groups angered over Saturday's raid took to networking sites to call for revenge assaults on strategic targets including gas pipelines and ships. They also called for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.

In the operation, U.S. special forces seized Nazih al-Ragye, known by his alias Abu Anas al-Libi- a Libyan who is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.

"Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care too about our citizens, which is our duty," Zeidan told reporters after a meeting with the Moroccan government in Rabat.

"They helped us with our revolution. Our relationship will not be affected by this event, which we will settle in the way that we need to."

The United States will move about 200 Marines to a U.S. base at Sigonella, Italy from one in Spain in the next day or so, U.S. military officials said, bolstering the U.S. ability to respond to any fallout from the raid in Libya.

A team of elite U.S. investigators is aboard a Navy warship in the Mediterranean, interrogating al- Libi - one of the most-wanted terror suspects in the world.

U.S. commandos captured him over the weekend in Libya. The government wants al-Libi to face justice, but the hope is he will also provide invaluable information about al Qaeda.

Al-Libi is being held aboard the USS San Antonio. Sources say al-Libi, who was part of Osama bin Laden's inner circle in the 1990s, is being questioned by a group of specially-trained investigators.

The "High Value Detainee Interrogation Group" is pressing al-Libi for intelligence about the al Qaeda network and potential attack plans.

Al-Libi, who spent years as a foreign operative for al Qaeda, was captured just after dawn Saturday on a street in his homeland of Libya.

U.S. commandos suddenly converged in three or four vehicles near al-Libi's home in Tripoli. His family told reporters the commandos -- wearing masks -- surrounded al-Libi's car, smashed the wind ows and whisked him away.

His wife, Uma Abderahman, told Al Jazeera that her husband was taken from his home by masked men.

"There were at least ten of them and they were all armed, with silenced weapons," she said. "It seems like they had drugged him."

In a statement of its own, Human Rights Watch called on the US to ensure al-Liby was quickly charged before a judge and given access to a lawyer in accordance with international law, adding that he should be tried in a civilian court.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday defended the capture, saying complaints about the operation from Libya and others are unfounded.

Kerry said the suspect was a "legal and appropriate target" for the US military and will face justice in a court of law.


Big News Network (United Arab Emirates)

(c) 2013 Big News Network. All rights reserved. Provided by an company

Original headline: Libya summons US envoy and demands handover of al-Libi

For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel

Source: (c) 2013 Big News Network. All rights reserved. Provided by an company

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters