Libya’s Presidential Council Calls for Release of Extradited Lockerbie Suspect

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Spokeswoman for Libya's Presidential Council (PC)
Spokeswoman for Libya's Presidential Council (PC)

On Saturday, the official Spokeswoman for the Libyan Presidential Council (PC), Najwa Wahiba called on the US authorities to repatriate former intelligence officer, Abu Ajila Masoud. He was extradited to Washington over his alleged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

In a video published by the Presidential Council, Wahiba condemned the handover of Abu Ajila to the US. She also demanded that “any US judicial requests against the Libyan suspect be dealt with within the framework of judicial cooperation mechanisms between the two countries, and under the jurisdiction of the Libyan judiciary.”

On Friday, the Head of the PC, Mohamed Al-Mnifi held talks with a number of senior US officials on the sidelines of the Washington-hosted, US-Africa Leaders Summit.

In a statement, the PC’s media office said that Al-Mnifi met with US President, Joe Biden. He also held consultations with Congressman and Armed Services Committee member John Garamendi and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

During the talks, Al-Mnifi discussed ways of achieving stability in Libya and the PC’s vision for a permanent solution to the country’s political and economic crisis.

Abu Ajila appeared in a US courtroom Last week, according to a statement issued by the US Department of Justice. US Attorney General, Merrick B. Garland said the “relentless efforts over the past three decades led to the indictment and arrest of Abu Ajila for his alleged role in building the bomb used in the attack.”

“The defendant is currently in US custody and is facing charges in the United States. This is an important step forward in our mission to honour the victims, and pursue justice on behalf of their loved ones,” Garland added.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Parliament called on the Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sour to begin criminal proceedings against those involved in the kidnapping and extradition of the Libyan citizen.

On Wednesday, 44 Libyan political parties called on Libyans to take collective action to denounce the “crime of kidnapping” and extradition of Abu Ajila to the United States.

The Libyan political parties called for a sit-in in front of the United Nations headquarters and the American embassies inside and outside of Libya to condemn the “heinous crime.” They demanded that those responsible for Abu Ajila’s deportation be prosecuted.

“A month ago, we denounced the disappearance and kidnapping of Abu Ajila from his house, in Tripoli, by a local armed gang and taking him to an unknown destination,” the statement said.

“At that time, the news was leaked that the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU) and his Foreign Minister are intending to hand him the Libyan citizen to the U.S.,” the statement added.

The parties confirmed that the Lockerbie case was settled, and its file was permanently closed in accordance with a legal agreement between the Libyan and the U.S. in 2008.