Mauritania ‘agrees’ to extradite Libya's Senussi

Wanted for crimes against humanity

TRIPOLI - Mauritania has agreed to extradite Moamer Gathafi's ex-spy chief Abdullah Senussi to Libya to stand trial, Libya's vice premier announced on Tuesday.
"I have met the President of Mauritania and he agreed to the extradition of Senussi to Libya," Mustafa Abu Shagur wrote on his Twitter account.
There was no immediate confirmation from the authorities in Mauritania, where Senussi was arrested at Nouakchott airport on Friday after arriving on a flight from Casablanca in Morocco, using a false passport.
Earlier, speaking to reporters after meeting Mauritanian leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in Nouakchott, the Libyan vice-premier said only that the president had "promised something positive" in regard to Libya's request.
Senussi, Gathafi's feared former right-hand man, is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
In addition, Saudia Arabia and Spain want to interrogate Senussi over attacks committed in their countries, a diplomat in Nouakchott said.
"He (Senussi) is Libyan and the Libyan people want to see him and assure he obtains a fair trial in Libya. We thus highly appreciate the position of the president who has promised something positive in this regard," Abu Shagar told journalists.
"We have thanked the president for the courageous decision he took in deciding to arrest Abdullah Senussi. It is a historic and brave decision the Libyan people will never forget, because this man was the second most important person in Libya after Gathafi."
Senussi was the subject of an ICC arrest warrant issued on June 27, which says he was an "indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity, of murder and persecution based on political grounds" in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Senussi is also the subject of an international arrest warrant after a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment for involvement in the downing of a French UTA airliner over Niger in September 1989.
The plane was carrying 170 people from Brazzaville to Paris via Ndjamena.
That attack -- along with the bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988 in which 270 people were killed -- led to a UN-mandated air blockade of Libya in 1992.
The diplomatic source said President Aziz had met with ambassadors from Saudi Arabia and Spain on Monday who wanted to discuss the possibility of questioning Senussi over acts committed by the Gathafi regime.
These include the attempted assassination in 2003 of then Saudi crown prince Abdullah, who is now king, and unspecified attacks in Madrid.
"The two countries are looking for answers from Mauritania in relation to its investigation into (Senussi) who is seen as the 'black box' of the Libyan regime," the source said.
The Mauritanian president also met with French ambassador Herve Besancenot.
Nine political parties and civil society organisations seen as allies of the slain Gathafi on Tuesday called on Mauritania not to extradite Senussi, but let him "choose his own fate".