Abdullah alSenussi, the former spymaster of slain Libyan dictator Col Muammar Qaddafi, was arrested in the Mauritanian capital on Saturday, a security source said.
The former Libyan intelligence chief was arrested overnight at Nouakchott airport after arriving on a regular flight from Casablanca in Morocco, the source said, adding that alSenussi was travelling with a fake Malian passport.
AlSenussi was taken to the national intelligence agency’s office in Nouakchott but it remained unclear what the Mauritanian government planned to do with him.
In Tripoli, the spokesman for Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council, Mohammed alHarizi, said it had confirmed alSenussi’s arrest with the Nouakchott authorities. “We have confirmed the arrest of Abdullah alSenussi with the Mauritanian foreign ministry,” he stated.
Another government spokesperson, Nasser alManee said that Libya is seeking the extradition of alSenussi from Mauritania.
“Today the prosecutor general has sent an extradition request to the Mauritanian government through Interpol, who delivered this request to them,” he told a news conference. “Our government is ready to receive Abdullah alSenussi, and give him a fair trial,” he added.
AlSenussi, a brother-in-law of Qaddafi, is wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for what it alleges was his crucial role in crushing the country’s popular revolt.
The ICC, which issued an arrest warrant for him on June 27, 2011, claimed that alSenussi was an “indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity of murder and persecution based on political grounds committed in Benghazi,” However, the court had not officially received information of his arrest.
The capture of the 62-year-old former spy chief came after he spent several months on the run.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.