Thursday, 6 September 2012

Abdullah Senussi is returned from Mauritania to Libya

According to reports from Mauritania's Foreign Ministry the infamous former security chief and Colonel Qadhafi's brother-in-law, Abdullah Senussi, was released on Wednesday 5 August following a visit by Libyan Foreign Minister, Ashour Bin Khayal, and Chief of Staff, Yousef Mangoush. He was then handed over to the Libyans and it is understood that he is now on his way to Libya.

While the extradition from Tunisia of the former prime minister Mahmoud al–Baghdadi was of some interest, he was really just a technocrat. There is no doubt that Senussi is a much more important prize, because not only was he at the heart of Qadhafi's inner circle for many decades, but he was almost certainly responsible for almost all of the regime's most infamous crimes. These include overseas acts of terrorism – including the UTA and Lockerbie bombings and many others – but also decades of repression against the regime's domestic opponents. In addition there was the crackdown in Benghazi which sparked the 2011 revolution; Senussi's most notorious act, however, was his alleged orchestration of the June 1996 massacre of over 1200 inmates at Abu Salim prison.

Senussi probably knows more secrets about the Qadhafi regime than anyone else, with the possible exception of the former intelligence chief and foreign minister, Musa Kusa, who defected during the 2011 revolution. Senussi will no doubt be extensively debriefed and interrogated before any trial but there can be no doubt that that he will be found guilty of numerous crimes and will almost certainly be executed. Anything less would be unacceptable to the majority of Libyans for whom Senussi was the most feared and hated member of the Qadhafi regime.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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