Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief should be brought to The Hague to face trial, his daughter said on Wednesday, warning that he faced a show trial and death in Libya unless extradited.
Anoud al-Senussi, daughter of the man who for decades was a feared right-hand man to the former ruler, said her father was being denied access to lawyers in his prison in Libya, where has been held since he was extradited from Mauritania 16 months ago.
One of Gaddafi’s closest allies, Abdullah al-Senussi faces charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague of crimes against humanity for the role he allegedly played in attempting to crush the uprising that led to Gaddafi’s toppling and death after four decades in power. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam faces similar charges.
Senussi is also of interest to authorities in Europe and the United States. Many believe his privileged position in Gaddafi’s authoritarian regime mean he has information about atrocities including the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.
Anoud al-Senussi told Reuters she did not expect her father to be freed, but that she was hoping to secure for him a fair trial before “a fair court”.
In Libya, Senussi is best known for his alleged role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison in 1996. He was also involved in the controversial rapprochement between Gaddafi’s government and Britain and France in the early 2000s, which led to growing commercial ties.
“I’d be a liar if I told you I knew anything about these deeds,” Anoud said. “But he was head of security, of course he knew about Libya’s contacts with other countries.”
Senussi has been in prison since he was extradited 16 months ago from Mauritania, where he had been living in exile. In a sign of the importance the new government attached to him, Libya paid Mauritania $200 million to hand him over in defiance of the ICC’s arrest warrant.
Earlier this year, ICC judges ruled that the Libyan government was capable of giving Senussi a fair trial on charges similar to the ICC’s, meaning the country was under no obligation to hand Senussi to the court. Senussi’s lawyers are appealing that ruling.
“He should be tried at the ICC, where he will not face the death penalty,” said Ben Emmerson, Senussi’s lawyer, last month.
Pointing to the kidnapping by militias earlier this year of prime minister Ali Zeidan, they say that, two years on from the uprising, Libya is still too unstable to give a fair trial to a figure as prominent as Senussi.