Amnesty International has criticized the handover of Abu Agila Masoud Al-Marimi, a former Libyan intelligence operative, to the U.S. where he faces charges over alleged involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
This comes after Al-Marimi’s family, who appeared in a US courtroom last week, told the media that the 71-year-old was “kidnapped” from his home in Tripoli’s Abu Salem neighbourhood around 1am on 17 November by armed gunmen sent by a notorious local militia commander. He was then held by another militia for two weeks before being handed over to US agents.
“We have long called for accountability for crimes [including the Lockerbie attack] under international law but this has to be done in a manner that respects due process and upholds fair trial rights,” Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, told The Guardian on Sunday.
“In this case even a facade of legality was not maintained … there was no hearing for [Masud] to challenge the lawfulness of his detention and transfer,” she added.
The exact legal justification for the transfer of Masud is unclear. Libya does not have an extradition treaty with the US, no court is known to have considered any request from Washington nor from the government of Libya, and there is no record of any warrant issued for Masud’s detention.