Sunday, 3 April 2011

Libya: William Hague defends giving asylum to controversial minister

[This is the headline over a report just published on The Telegraph website. It reads in part:]

Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended giving refuge to Libyan henchman Moussa Koussa amid claims that the controversial minister may be linked to the Lockerbie bombing and other terrorist atrocities.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had not met Moussa Koussa personally since his defection, but had spoken to him briefly.

"I welcomed the fact that he had left the Gaddafi regime, I thought that was the right thing to do," Mr Hague told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

"I asked him to have discussions with my officials, which is indeed what he is now doing."

Mr Hague admitted allowing Mr Koussa to take refuge in the UK raised "issues", but it had been the "right" thing to do. He stressed the ex-foreign minister would not be offered any immunity from prosecution.

"I think that when someone like that says they want to get out it would be quite wrong to say no, you have got to stay there," he added. (...)

"The Crown Office in Scotland want to talk to him about what has happened in the past, such as Lockerbie," he added. "My officials are discussing with the Crown Office tomorrow how to go about that.

"That is not a bad thing either. We want more information about past events." (...)

Scottish prosecutors said on Friday they wanted to interview Libya's former foreign minister about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Official documents released in February as part of Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell's review of the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi show the pivotal role Koussa played in the Lockerbie bomber's return to Libya. Koussa is described in one Foreign Office email as the man "whom Gaddafi has tasked with securing Megrahi's return".

However, Government sources insist that Moussa Koussa is not being treated as a "defector" and should not be seen as a "suspect" for past Libyan crimes.

Scottish police and prosectutors will meet with Foreign Office officials tomorrow to discuss the situation.

[A report just published on The First Post website contains the following:]

The latest Government utterances on Koussa stress that he has not defected. A government source told the Sunday Telegraph: "He is not a defector, he has not joined the [Libyan] opposition and he has not joined us.

"He is somebody who has left Col Gaddafi's government after a lifetime working for him. It was an enormously life-changing decision for him."

According to many observers, the Government is taking a 'softly, softly' approach. The message that Koussa is "not a defector" and has "not joined us" is aimed squarely at other Libyan officials who might be teetering on the edge of turning their backs on Gaddafi's faltering regime.


  1. It's difficult to believe anything someone says when they have gained more super-injunctions than even a Royal has...

  2. I fear Koussa will have to agree on certain "confessions against Ghadaffi" in order to remain free from prosecution. This will run rough shod over any publicity Megrahi may get exonerating himself.

  3. This is the same minster who blithely said Gadaffi had fled Libya for Venezuela...can he be trusted to do anything honestly? What is he doing in public office?