Libya congress demands U.S. returns seized al-Qaeda suspect

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Libya’s General National Congress, demanded on Tuesday that the United States hand back an alleged al-Qaeda operative its special forces captured from Tripoli earlier this week.

A statement from the county’s top-political authority stressed the “need for the immediate surrender” of Abu Anas al-Libi and described the U.S. operation as a "flagrant violation of (Libya's) national sovereignty," according to Agence France-Presse.

The text, which was passed by the GNC, also calls for the “need to allow the Libyan authorities and their families to get in touch with him (Libi) and guarantee them access to a lawyer,” AFP reported.

The statement is the first official commendation by Libya on the operation after the government has summoned U.S. ambassador Deborah Jones to seek clarification over the capture.

“Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani summoned the ambassador of the United States on Monday morning to ask for answers to several questions relating to the case” of Abu Anas al-Libi, a ministry statement said, according to AFP.

An elite U.S. interrogation team is now questioning the senior al-Qaeda figure who was captured in Tripoli on Saturday and then taken onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Libi is being questioned by the U.S. High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, an inter-agency group created in 2009 and housed in the FBI's National Security Branch, according to Reuters news agency.

He is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.

He was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward and has been accused in a U.S. federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in the East Africa bombings.

Libya said it had demanded an explanation from Washington on Sunday for the “kidnap” of Libi in an unauthorized commando raid on its territory.

“The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States,” a government statement said according to AFP.

“As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the U.S. authorities to demand an explanation.”

The government underlined its “desire to see Libyan citizens tried in their own country, whatever the accusations leveled against them.”

(With AFP and Reuters)

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