Gadhafi's Hated Spy Chief Arrested Abroad

Abdullah al-Senussi stopped in Mauritania, faces extradition
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2012 1:21 PM CDT
In this photo taken on a government-organized tour, Abdullah al-Senussi, then head of Libyan intelligence, speaks to the press in Tripoli in August.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
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(Newser) – A reviled figure in Moammar Gadhafi's former Libyan regime has been arrested, reports Reuters. Spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi got nabbed at an airport in Mauritania, and in an apparent testament to his character, there are no fewer than three places hoping to have him extradited for trial. The International Criminal Court wants him for crimes against humanity, France wants him for his alleged role in the 1989 bombing of an airliner in Niger that killed 54 French nationals, and Libya wants him back for what it swears will be a "fair trial."

"Senussi is Gadhafi's black box, he has a lot of information," says one Tripoli resident. "He has blood on his hands he should be brought here and tried in Libya." Reuters notes an irony: Senussi is accused in Libya of orchestrating the slaying of 1,200 inmates in 1996, and it was the arrest of a lawyer for victims' relatives that set off the February revolt that let to Gadhafi's ouster. (Read more Libya stories.)

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