[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of the Daily Express. It reads in part:]
Colonel Gaddafi’s terror chief Moussa Koussa was yesterday granted an asylum seeker’s visa to stay in the UK – and full access to the millions he has stashed away in secret bank accounts.
MPs and Lockerbie families condemned the move to allow Libya’s “envoy of death” the right to come and go as he pleases for six months after a request to the Home Office by Foreign Secretary William Hague.
And the decision, ordered by the EU, to lift sanctions on the spy chief’s frozen assets – thought to contain millions from Libya’s booming oil sales – was branded as “astonishing”.
The move is understood to have been proposed by Mr Hague when he met European counterparts on Tuesday in an effort to encourage others to quit Gaddafi’s regime. A Treasury source said: “It sends a powerful signal to other potential defectors that, if they are currently on a list, they could be taken off that list if they do things differently.” But Tory MP Robert Halfon, whose family fled Libya when Gaddafi seized power, said: “I am astonished that the EU has decided to give immunity from sanctions to an alleged war criminal.
“The only place Mr Koussa should be travelling is to the Hague to face prosecution at the international court for war criminals.
“Many British people will be hugely concerned that these privileges are being granted to this man.”
Defending Koussa’s visa, a senior Whitehall source insisted there was “no deal, no immunity”. He added: “Koussa may be a nasty piece of work, but he could be key to Gaddafi’s removal. He needs temporary security here so he will work with us.” The Home Office has given Koussa a “Discretionary Leave to Remain” visa offered to asylum seekers pursuing their case to obtain a legitimate refugee status.
[Compare this with the following excerpt from a report headlined "Musa Kusa in UK snub" in today's edition of The Sun:]
Mad Dog Gaddafi's henchman Musa Kusa is refusing to return to Britain, it was claimed last night.
The tyrant's former spymaster has been handed back his passport and cash.
He was allowed to travel freely to Qatar on Wednesday and no longer has his assets frozen. And last night EU sanctions on him were formally lifted.
But Kusa - who defected from Gaddafi's regime last month - is refusing to quit Qatar in a bid to avoid prosecution over the Lockerbie bombing, say sources.
Kusa, 62, flew to the Arab state for international talks about Libya. Broadcaster Al Arabiya reported that Kusa fears the wrath of the families of the 270 Lockerbie victims who perished in the 1988 outrage.
American Susan Cohen, 72 - whose daughter Theo was on board the doomed flight - said: "I am not surprised. Kusa is an evil, evil man who effectively deserves to be hanged. He should not have been allowed to leave Britain."
The Foreign Office said Kusa is "a free individual who can travel to and from the UK", adding: "He has voluntarily agreed to assist all inquiries."