[From The Libya Update website on 20 November:]
A recent press report alleges that the abduction of Masoud Abu Ajila al-Marimi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, who is suspected of being involved in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, by unknown persons was the result of a deal between the United States and the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU), a press report claims.
According to a report by London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, GNU’s prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, faces widespread accusations of attempting to extradite Abu Ajila as a “scapegoat” for the United States, in return for “his government’s continuation in the power it has held for nearly two years.”
Citing an “official close to Dbeibeh”, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that said that the Abu Ajila case has always been a focus of American attention during meetings that US officials held with Dbeibeh during sporadic periods in recent times.
The newspaper noted that Dbeibeh’s government ignored the kidnapping, and neither it nor its military apparatus issued any comment on it.
Local media, quoting Hussein al-Ayeb, head of the General Intelligence Service, said that the kidnapping was carried out by “a squad of unknown affiliation, without any significant coordination with the intelligence service.”
[From the Haber Tusba website today:]
In recent hours, Libyan streets have been buzzing with news of the disappearance of Abu Ajila Masood Al-Marimi, one of the suspects in the famous 1988 Lockerbie bombing and wanted for trial in America. under mysterious circumstances from his prison in the capital Tripoli.
Local media have been concerned about the disappearance of Al-Marimi from his prison, where he has been held since 2011, and he is an official in the intelligence apparatus during the era of the former regime of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, after he was convicted on charges related to a fatal plane crash that killed 270 people on the trip, including 190 Americans. He flew between London and New York, and in late 2020 he was charged several indictments in the US for his “involvement in the planning and manufacture of the bomb” that brought down the plane over the Lockerbie area and in the commission of crimes related to terrorism.
The news of the disappearance of a former intelligence officer who Washington is seeking to be deported to the United States for trial has sparked widespread controversy in the country amid growing suspicions of his kidnapping and the possibility of his extradition, which could put further pressure on the Libyan state’s fears, reinforced by statements in the media by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Naglai al-Mankoush a year ago, in which she stated that “her country is ready to cooperate with Washington to extradite the suspect in the Lockerbie bombing”, noting that there are “immediate positive results” in this regard.
In this context, the Supreme Council of State called on the Tripoli authorities to investigate the circumstances of the mysterious disappearance, warning that it was related to the Lockerbie investigation.
The council also announced in a statement last night, Saturday, its refusal to reopen the Lockerbie case by some local authorities and bring it back to the fore due to its lack of any political or legal justification, highlighting its lack of commitment to all rights this procedure in relation to the Libyan state.
He pointed out that the case materials are completely closed politically and legally, according to the text of the agreement concluded between the United States of America and the Libyan state of 14.08.2008.
In turn, National Security Adviser Ibrahim Bushnaf, in a statement, warned against re-raising this case, calling on all patriots and political organizations to line up to prevent it, away from political conflict, noting that “this question, if she was again raised and become the subject of a criminal investigation, plunge Libya into decades of debauchery."
On the other hand, the government of national unity, headed by Abdul Hamid al-Dabaiba, did not give any explanation in response to the accusations leveled against militias loyal to him in the kidnapping of al-Muraimi.
It is noteworthy that Lockerbie is a sensitive political and criminal case for Libyans, most of whom refuse to reopen it, especially since it cost the state huge financial losses during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, as compensation was paid to the families of the victims, estimated at $ 2.7 billion.
Similarly, the majority of Libyans are strongly opposed to the extradition of a Libyan citizen for trial abroad, while others believe that their country is innocent of all the charges it is pursuing in this case.