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Libya ex-spy chief caught off guard by extradition: daughter

Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi arrives in Tripoli September 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Libyan National Guard/Handout)

NOUAKCHOTT: Libya's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi and his family were taken by surprise by his extradition to his home country after Mauritania assured it would not happen, his daughter said on Thursday.

The fugitive and former right-hand man of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi -- who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity -- was extradited by Mauritania on Wednesday.

"We were with my dad when he was called at 7:00 am (local and GMT) for an important meeting which turned out to be his handover to Libya," Senussi's eldest daughter Anud Abdullah al-Senussi told private radio station Radio Nouakchott Info.

"I strongly regret Mauritania's decision and express all my disappointment over my father's extradition because the authorities, including the president of the republic, assured that he would not be extradited," she said in Arabic.

The 21-year-old said they had not been told of the decision "so that we could at least say goodbye."

She said Senussi had been living in a "prison villa" in a northern suburb of the Mauritanian capital where he had been "well treated but deprived of all exterior contact except his family."

The fugitive was arrested in March as he tried to enter the country from Morocco using a Malian passport under a different name.

Despite pressure from Libya for Nouakchott to extradite him, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz had in August ruled out the handover, saying Senussi must answer to his crimes in Mauritania.

State television announced his extradition in a newsflash on Wednesday, and the man accused of playing a "crucial" role in attempting to crush the Libyan revolt last year is back in Tripoli awaiting questioning.

Senussi's daughter joined the United States and rights groups in urging her father get a fair trial.

"He is being accused of many things that one man alone could not commit," she said, adding her father had been an "ordinary citizen" who drove himself everywhere.

Meanwhile Senussi's lawyers criticised the extradition in a communique on Thursday, saying it had not followed the proper channels and been submitted to the courts for consideration.

 

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