Libyan al Qaeda suspect to appear in court in New York

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright looks at damage from a bomb at the U.S. embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998. Credit: Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright looks at damage from a bomb at the U.S. embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998. Credit: Getty Images

An alleged senior al Qaeda figure captured in Libya by U.S. special forces this month has been transferred to the United States and will face charges in court in New York, U.S. officials said on Monday

The Libyan, Nazih al-Ragye, better known as Abu Anas al-Liby, is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.

He was seized by a U.S. Army Delta Force squad on the streets of Tripoli on October 5 and whisked onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he was questioned by a team of interrogators.

He was handed over to U.S. civilian law enforcement over the weekend and brought directly to the New York area, said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the chief federal prosecutor for Manhattan.

Al-Liby is expected to appear before a judge on Tuesday, Bharara said in a statement. A criminal indictment was filed in 2001 against al-Liby and others suspected in the embassy bombings.

David Patton, the chief public defender for New York who had requested that a judge appoint a defense lawyer for al-Liby, had no immediate comment on al-Liby’s transfer.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan declined on Friday to assign a court-appointed attorney to al-Liby until he had been formally arrested by law enforcement.

It was not immediately known whether al-Liby cooperated with U.S. interrogators or provided them with intelligence of any value. He was in military custody for about 10 days.

The U.S. government had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture, under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.

A group of Libyan gunmen who briefly seized Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from a Tripoli hotel last Thursday said they did so because of his government’s role in the U.S. capture of al-Liby.

 


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