Libya summons US envoy over raid to capture al-Liby

Anas al-Liby was legally detained, according to John Kerry

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Libya summoned the US ambassador to the country for questioning on Monday over the weekend capture of a suspected al-Qaeda leader on Libyan territory.

Anas al-Liby, wanted over 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was seized in Tripoli on Saturday.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said ties between his country and the US would not be affected by the issue.

Mr Zeidan said Libyan nationals must be tried in Libya. His justice minister demanded "explanations about the case".

The US has said Mr Liby was "a legal and an appropriate target".

Mr Liby's son, Abdullah al-Ruqai, has said his father was seized by masked gunmen early on Saturday morning and that some of them were Libyans.

He believes the Libyan government was implicated in his father's disappearance - a claim Tripoli denies.

'Contact promised'

Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani summoned US ambassador Deborah Jones for an audience on Monday morning, a foreign ministry statement said.

Protesters in Benghazi burn a replica of the U.S. flag during a demonstration against the capture of Anas al-Liby - 7 October 2013 There was a protest on Monday in Benghazi about Anas al-Liby's capture

The US embassy in Tripoli told the BBC that Ambassador Jones was "in regular contact with the Libyan government, including the Libyan ministry of foreign affairs".

Mr Marghani and officials from the foreign ministry also met members of Mr Liby's family, who were told of the meeting with the US ambassador, the statement said.

Anas al-Liby

  • Born 30 March 1964 in Tripoli, Libya
  • Believed to have joined al-Qaeda in 1990s
  • Given political asylum in UK
  • Charged by New York prosecutors with involvement in 1998 US embassy bombings
  • One of FBI's "most wanted terrorists" with $5m bounty

Mr Ruqai confirmed to the BBC that Libyan officials had met some family members on Monday, although he had not been at the meeting.

"They promised us they would try to arrange for us to get in touch with him [Mr Liby]," he told the BBC.

On Sunday, the prime minister's office said he had asked the US for clarification on the raid and stressed Libya was "keen on prosecuting any Libyan citizen inside Libya".

Mr Liby - whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai - is believed to have been one of the masterminds behind the 1998 US embassy attacks, which killed more than 220 people in Kenya and Tanzania.

The 49-year-old has been indicted in a New York court in connection with the attacks and has been on the FBI's most wanted list for more than a decade with a $5m (£3.1m) bounty on his head.

Defending the capture, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Mr Liby would face justice in a court of law.

Whatever the legal basis for Mr Liby's capture, Human Rights Watch said the US needed to respect his rights so he could be fairly tried in a civilian court.

"That means ensuring he gets a lawyer during any questioning and that he is promptly brought before a judge and charged," Laura Pitter, a senior counter-terrorism researcher at the US-based rights group, said in a statement.

US commandos also carried out a raid in southern Somalia on Saturday, but failed to capture their target - Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir, a Kenyan al-Shabab commander also known as Ikrima.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Ikrima was closely associated with Harun Fazul, also known as Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who are believed to have helped with the 1998 embassy bombings and the 2002 attacks on a hotel and airline in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, has said it was behind the last month's attack on a Kenyan shopping centre in which 67 people died.

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