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HRW raises issues over the extradition of Lockerbie assault suspect in Libya

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A number one human rights group on Monday urged the USA and Libya to elucidate the authorized foundation for the shock extradition of a former Libyan intelligence officer accused of creating the bomb that blows up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

US authorities introduced in December that they’d arrested Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, accused of being the supply of the bomb that crashed the flight to New York days earlier than. Christmas in 1988. The assault killed 259 folks within the air and 11 on the bottom.

Mas’ud’s arrest and extradition raised questions in regards to the authorized foundation for a way he was arrested, simply months after his launch from a Libyan jail, and despatched to the USA. US officers mentioned his switch was authorized and described it because the end result of years of cooperation with Libyan authorities.

Libya and the USA would not have a standing extradition settlement, so there was no obligation at hand over Mas’ud. Libyan officers advised The Related Press in December that militias loyal to the Tripoli-based nationwide unity authorities had been behind his detention and give up to the USA.

Human Rights Watch mentioned Mas’ud’s saga raised rights issues. “It seems that no Libyan court docket ordered or reviewed Mas’ud’s switch to the USA and he was given no alternative to enchantment, elevating critical issues in regards to the legality of his switch. process,” mentioned Hanan Salah, deputy Center East and North Africa director at HRW.

Mas’ud was arrested at his residence within the Abu Salim neighbourhood of Tripoli, which is managed by a community of militias allied to Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah. The Libyan public prosecutor challenged this resolution and opened an investigation.

Dbeibah acknowledged his authorities’s position within the extradition, calling Mas’ud a “terrorist”. The Prime Minister, nonetheless, didn’t clarify the legality of his arrest or switch to the USA. He didn’t present laborious proof for any of his allegations.

The rights group additionally known as on the USA to carry a good trial and permit the suspect to problem his extradition. He additionally urged the Libyan authorities to research and maintain accountable these chargeable for Mas’ud’s “violent abduction from his residence “.

Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie lower than an hour after taking off from London on December 21, 1988. Of these killed on the flight, 190 had been US residents.

A breakthrough within the decades-long investigation got here in 2017 when the US Division of Justice acquired a replica of an interview that Mas’ud, a former explosives skilled with Libya’s intelligence companies, had given to the legislation enforcement companies within the North African nation in 2012 whereas in custody following the decades-long collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Libya has been torn by civil conflict since a NATO-backed rebellion toppled and killed Gaddafi in 2011. The North African nation is split between Dbeibah’s authorities and a rival authorities primarily based in jap Libya and led by Prime Minister Fathi Bachagha.