The apprehension of a former Libyan intelligence operative has raised concerns over the rule of law
Lockerbie bombing suspect Mohammed Abouagela Masud was reportedly kidnapped by a notorious Libyan militia on behalf of Washington and forcibly taken to the US – without warrant or formal extradition – to stand trial for his alleged role in the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.
Analysts have raised concerns that by partnering with a brutal militia in an extrajudicial apprehension, the US may undermine efforts to promote the rule of law in Libya, The Guardian reported on Tuesday. The former intelligence operative is accused of building the bomb that brought down the Boeing 747, killing 270 people.
Masud was seized at his home last month by gunmen loyal to militia commander Abdel Ghani al-Kikli, The Guardian said. He was then transferred to a second militia group, which detained him for two weeks before delivering him to US agents. The ailing 75-year-old briefly appeared in court on Monday in Washington.
“The US has this idea that there is no moratorium on pursuing those responsible for crimes against America … but this episode … is completely at odds with what the US wants in Libya,” Tim Eaton, a Libya expert at Chatham House in London, told The Guardian. “The pitch is for democracy, accountability and transparency. You’d be very hard-pushed to say this was an accountable and transparent process.”
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday that Masud’s arrest and transfer was done in a “lawful manner according to established procedures.” The Guardian said he was in prison on unrelated charges until about six months ago and could have easily been transferred to the US then. Masud “was just at home. There was no warrant out for him or anything of that nature. The Americans knew this, of course,” a Libyan official told the newspaper.
According to US officials, Masud confessed to building the bomb and working with two co-conspirators to carry out the attack, operating under the instructions of Libyan intelligence.
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