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colonel muammar gaddafi

Mauritania has handed Muammar Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi over to the Libyan authorities, state media say.

Libya wants to try Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes allegedly committed during his time as Colonel Gaddafi’s right-hand man. He is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mauritania previously said Abdullah al-Senussi must first face charges of illegal entry.

He fled Libya after last year’s uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested on arrival in Mauritania, sparking repeated requests from the Libyan government for his return.

Libya wants to try Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes allegedly committed during his time as Colonel Gaddafi's right-hand man

Libya wants to try Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes allegedly committed during his time as Colonel Gaddafi's right-hand man

The report of his extradition was carried by state TV and the state news agency in Mauritania. There has so far been no confirmation from the Libyan authorities.

“He was extradited to Libya on the basis of guarantees given by Libyan authorities,” a Mauritanian government source told Reuters news agency, without giving details.

According to the reports, Abdullah al-Senussi was delivered to an official Libyan delegation headed by the minister of justice.

If confirmed, Abdullah al-Senussi’s extradition to Libya will be a blow for the ICC.

Not only has the court been trying to win custody of Abdullah al-Senussi, he says, it is also arguing that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’ son Seif al-Islam should also be brought to justice at the court.

It is not known if he is still in the country although one official quoted by AP news agency said the former spy-chief left Mauritania on Wednesday on a Libya-bound flight.

A witness at the airport was quoted as saying Abdullah al-Senussi was not handcuffed and seemed in good spirits as he boarded the plane.

In March, Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested at Nouakchott airport in Mauritania after flying in from Morocco. He was disguised as a Tuareg chieftain and was carrying a fake passport.

He was later charged with illegally entering the country and using forged documents, and transferred to the civilian prison in Nouakchott. However, it is believed he has spent most of his time in Mauritania under house arrest at a private villa.

In June 2011, the ICC issued a warrant for Abdullah al-Senussi for crimes against humanity alleged to have been carried out in Benghazi, the main base of the Libyan opposition during the revolt last year.

France has already sentenced Abdullah al-Senussi to life imprisonment for the shooting down of a UTA airliner over Niger in 1989 in which 170 people were killed.

He has been accused of various human rights abuses including his alleged role in the 1996 massacre of more than 1,000 inmates at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.

Abdullah al-Senussi is alleged to have ordered guards standing on grated ceilings above the inmates to fire down on them, after riots broke out over demands for better food and conditions.

He is also believed to have information about Libyans kidnapped and assassinated abroad during Gaddafi’s rule, and the financing of terrorist organizations, especially in Africa.

Investigators in the US and UK also believe he may have further knowledge about the 1988 airliner bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland in which 270 people died.

Earlier this year, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who led a delegation to the region, said Washington had a “particular interest” in seeing Abdullah al-Senussi arrested “because of his role with the Lockerbie bombing”.


Libyan people are voting in their first free election for more than 50 years.

They are selecting a temporary assembly which will have the task of picking a cabinet and a prime minister.

But the vote has been overshadowed by violence and deep regional divisions. An electoral worker died on the eve of the vote when gunmen attacked a helicopter near Benghazi.

Many people in eastern Libya are concerned that the oil-rich area will be under-represented in the assembly.

The region has been allotted only 60 seats in the 200-seat assembly.

Under the system devised by the outgoing National Transitional Council (NTC), which led the campaign against Gaddafi, 100 seats are allocated to the west and 40 to the south.

Libyan people are voting in their first free election for more than 50 years

Libyan people are voting in their first free election for more than 50 years

Polls opened at 08:00 a.m. local time, with reports of queues forming outside polling stations in the capital Tripoli.

“Words cannot capture my joy, this is a historic day,” Fawziya Omran, 40, told AFP news agency.

“I’ve made my choice. I hope it is the right choice and that the candidate will not disappoint us.”

However, it is unclear whether polls are opening everywhere as planned.

Some in the east fear being marginalized as they were for decades under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, our correspondent says.

Some former rebels have been threatening to derail the vote by targeting the oil industry, large parts of which are located in the east.

They have shut down as many as five oil terminals, including those at Brega, Ras Lanouf and Sidra, and a significant part of Libya’s oil exporting capacity has been disrupted.

Ballot papers were set alight at a key election office in Ajdabiya and another election centre was attacked in Benghazi.

In an attempt to defuse the situation, the NTC has said the new parliament will no longer be responsible for naming the panel that will draft Libya’s new constitution.

The 60-member committee will be elected in a separate vote at a later date.

A Libyan army spokesman said the helicopter was transporting voting materials when it was attacked close to the airport in Benghazi. An election commission worker was fatally wounded, he said, but the helicopter managed to land safely.

An election commission member in Tripoli said that the identity of the gunmen was not yet known but that the attack would not affect the vote.

The poll has already been postponed once before.

Around 2.9 million people are eligible to vote for the 3,700 candidates standing for the new General National Congress, in Libya’s first national vote since Col Gaddafi was toppled in October 2011 after an eight-month uprising.

There are countless political parties taking part in the election, our correspondent says, but the biggest to emerge so far is the Justice and Construction Party, made up mostly of Muslim Brotherhood members.

Libyan elections:

• 2.8 million registered voters from around 3-3.5 million eligible (45% women)

• 2,639 individual candidates (competing for 120 seats in 69 constituencies)

• 374 party lists from more than 100 political entities (competing for 80 party seats in 20 constituencies)

• 559 women registered for party seats (44%)

• 88 women registered for individual seats (3%)

Source: The UN and the Libyan Electoral High Commission (HNEC)