Ex-Gaddafi spy chief al-Senussi 'will not be extradited'

Former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah al-Senussi in Tripoli on 22 June 2011 (file picture)
Image caption Mr Senussi was seen as late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's right-hand man

Mauritania's president has said former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi must be tried there before being extradited.

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said Mr Senussi, who fled after last year's uprising, must first face charges of illegal entry into Mauritania.

Libya is seeking to try Mr Senussi for crimes committed during his time as Muammar Gaddafi's right-hand man.

He is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court.

Mr Senussi was held at Nouakchott airport after flying in from Morocco in March, five months after the capture and death of Gaddafi.

Two months later he was charged for illegally entering the country and for the use of forged documents, judicial officials at the time said.

"Senussi has problems with Mauritania's judiciary and has to face court for entering Mauritania under a false identity," President Abdel Aziz said overnight on Sunday in the town of Atar.

"The passport Senussi used to enter Mauritania was not falsified but it presents him as Malian and under a fake name, which is why he must undergo trial in Mauritania," Mr Abdel Aziz said, according to AFP news agency.

He said the Mauritanian stance had already been made clear to Libyan and French officials.


The BBC's Ahmed Salem in Mauritania says it is the first time the government has commented on the matter.

In June 2011, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the spy chief for crimes against humanity which he was alleged to have carried out in Benghazi, the main base of the Libyan opposition during the revolt last year.

France has already sentenced Senussi to life imprisonment for the shooting down of a UTA airliner over Niger in 1989.

The interim government in Libya, meanwhile, wants him back on Libyan soil so he can stand trial for numerous allegations of murder and human rights abuses while he was Gaddafi's head of intelligence.

Nicknamed "the butcher", Mr Senussi was Gaddafi's brother-in-law and has been described as one of his closest aides.

He has been implicated in Libya's infamous massacre in 1996, in which more than 1,000 inmates were killed at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.

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