Qaddafi’s jailed ex-spy chief very sick, says daughter

Updated 08 November 2012
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Qaddafi’s jailed ex-spy chief very sick, says daughter

TRIPOLI: Muammar Qaddafi’s former right-hand man is languishing in a Libyan jail with kidney cancer and no access to lawyers, his daughter said on Wednesday, calling for him to get a fair trial.
Abdullah Al-Senussi, who as spy chief was one of Libya’s most feared men, fled the rebellion that toppled Qaddafi, but was captured in Mauritania and extradited back to Libya in September in an operation his daughter compared to a kidnapping.
“I haven’t spoken to him in over 60 days and his lawyer hasn’t been allowed in to see him,” Sarah Senussi said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
“Human rights organizations have asked repeatedly to visit him in jail and they have been refused also,” the 27-year-old told Reuters from an undisclosed location.
He did not have his medications with him and it is not known if he is receiving medical treatment in jail, she said.
Senussi is suspected of playing a central role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer acting for relatives of the victims that sparked the revolt in February last year.
Both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and France — which suspects him of involvement in a 1989 airliner bombing over Niger in which 54 of its nationals died — wanted to take him into custody.
The United States is also keen to question Senussi about the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland of US passenger plane that killed 270 people, diplomatic sources have said.
But a high-level Libyan delegation visited Mauritania and secured his extradition back to a country keen to try Qaddafi loyalists at home.
It was not clear if there was a court decision sanctioning his transfer from the West African country.
“At seven in the morning the Mauritanian authorities came in and told us that the president wanted to see him,” Sarah said.
“So he left with them even though we begged him not to go, but he did anyway.”
“It was the worst day of my life when I saw him on TV being taken back to Libya,” she said. “Now we only know his news from the Internet or TV and that’s not always accurate.”

NOT SAFE
Senussi’s younger daughter, 20-year-old Al-Unood, was arrested by the Libyan military police in October after entering the country from Algeria on a fake passport, apparently aiming to visit her father.
“I tried to convince her that it was not safe for her to go back to Libya, but she is the youngest and very attached to our father so she left without telling anyone,” Sarah said, adding that she was concerned for her sister’s legal rights.
“My sister was referred to a criminal court last Sunday without her or her lawyer being present at court,” Sarah said.
“We don’t know how she is doing in jail because her lawyer can’t visit her.”
Qaddafi’s son, Seif Al-Islam, is to go on trial in Libya this month, a government source said in August, in what would be the most high-profile prosecution of a figure from the late dictator’s 42 years in power.
But human rights activists worry that a weak central government and a relative lack of rule of law mean legal proceedings will not meet international standards.
Seif Al-Islam is also wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity during the uprising that brought down his father who was lynched by rebels last year.
Sarah said she understood the need for her father to face questions but said he deserved a fair hearing.
“My father has the right to a fair trial and a right to a proper investigation,” she said.
“Sure, the world has a right to know what he did and who Abdullah Senussi really is. But it must be transparent and legal.”
 


In Iraq’s Anbar, election offers chance to settle scores

Updated 24 min 16 sec ago
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In Iraq’s Anbar, election offers chance to settle scores

  • In January 2014, Daesh militants captured the city of Fallujah just west of the capital, and after a year of heavy fighting they took the city of Ramadi too
  • Three years of brutal militant rule may have helped ease sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites

RAMADI, Iraq: In the vast desert province of Anbar where Daesh group militants first emerged in Iraq, parliamentary elections next month are an opportunity for the predominantly Sunni residents to settle scores.
Many of the new candidates are eager to push out lawmakers they believe minimized the danger of — or even sympathized with — the Sunni extremists that stormed across the country in the summer of 2014.
“The political class that existed before IS is no longer suitable. They have lost their credibility with the residents of Anbar,” said Rafea Al-Fahdawi, who heads the candidate list in the province for the Victory Alliance led by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.
“They were involved in bringing terrorism and made people believe that terrorists were just rebels belonging to our tribes. The people of Iraq will punish them at the ballot box,” said Fahdawi, leader of the Tribes Against Terrorism coalition that battled militants in the western province.
In the lush garden surrounding his home in the city of Ramadi, tents were set up to host crowds that came to listen to Abadi, part of the premier’s campaign tour in the area.
“We fought against terrorism, and today, thanks to our campaign, we want to continue the fight against sectarianism. We have great hope for change,” said Fahdawi, 62, dressed in a traditional white robe.
In late 2013, Sunni tribes in Anbar rose up against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
In January 2014, Daesh militants captured the city of Fallujah just west of the capital, and after a year of heavy fighting they took the city of Ramadi too.
It was not until 2016 that the Iraqi army and the paramilitary forces of the Hashed Al-Shaabi managed to retake the two cities, recovering full control of Anbar province in late 2017.
The people of Anbar are eager for change, their feelings fueled by burning disappointment with the political class.
In the largely agricultural province, where tribes carry considerable weight, 352 candidates are competing on 18 lists for 15 seats.
A quarter of the contenders are running for office for the first time, according to the electoral commission, who say the province’s electoral lists include women and young people.
“The Iraqi people, in general, want to see radical and complete change. We will not accept the same faces under different (party) names and slogans,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al-Nimrawi, a leader of the Khalidiya tribes in Ramadi.
In a sign of the times, election fever has taken over the province.
It is a stark difference from previous polls and campaigns, which were bleak and almost secretive affairs as militants increased attacks on polling stations.
Despite Daesh threats against this year’s elections, campaign posters are everywhere in Anbar — hanging on the city’s destroyed homes and on the walls of newly rented candidate offices.
Even more surprising is the presence of a list from the Conquest Alliance led by Hadi Al-Ameri, the most well-known leader of the largely Shiite Hashed Al-Shaabi.
Ameri fought for Tehran in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war and has been accused of forming death squads in Iraq at the height of sectarian tensions nearly 10 years ago.
“The time for change has come. Anbar will witness social and political revolution and choose men who can steer the ship to safety,” said Khalaf Al-Jeblawi, a candidate on the Conquest Alliance list.
“The province has emerged from a fierce war and the Hashed fighters played a big role in the battle,” he said.
The Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force was formed in 2014 at the urging of Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani to counter the Daesh blitz.
But three years of brutal militant rule may have helped ease sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites.
“While sectarian identities do retain a (somewhat diminished) political relevance, when it comes to violence, today ‘sectarianism’ is yesterday’s conflict,” said Fanar Haddad, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute.
“I think that, for now, sectarian division is no longer the defining feature of Iraqi political mobilization.”