Wednesday, July 27, 2011

UK To Recognize Libyan TNC; Maybe Now TNC Will Extradite Suspect In Murder Of UK Policewoman

From Sky News this morning, Britain Expels Gaddafi's Embassy Staff:

The UK is to expel all Libyan Embassy staff and formally recognise the rebel-led National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country's governing authority.

Libya's charge d'affaires and eight other members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's representatives based in west London have been asked to leave Britain.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in their place, the UK would recognise and deal with the NTC as the "sole governmental authority in Libya".

-- snip --

Mr Hague added the UK was continuing to explore how to release funds to support the NTC.

One such move will see Britain unfreeze assets worth £91m belonging to an oil company now controlled by the opposition group.

Okay, so this move, like our own recognition of the TNC last week, is (mostly) all about the Benjamins.

But, maybe, this move will also enable the UK to finally bring some justice to the Libyan who shot and killed Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher way back in 1984. That happened the last time the UK closed Qaddafi's embassy in London, when someone inside the embassy fired on anti-Qaddafi protesters outside and hit Fletcher, presumably by mistake, but fatally.

The shooting led to an eleven-day police siege of the Libyan People's Bureau (Qaddafi's name for an embassy in his revolutionary government), and the identification of a suspect or two, but no arrest. Here's a report from back then:

This past March, the rebel leadership in Benghazi claimed to have arrested one of the Libyans implicated in the murder of Fletcher.

Reports from Benghazi are claiming rebels have seized Omar Ahmed Sodani, one of the suspects alleged to have fired the shot that killed WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in 1984.

Khalid Alsahly, a rebel leader in Benghazi has told journalists that they have seized Sodani from his home in Benghazi and "he will face the proper legal process, when the time is right". Sodani attempted to join the pro-democracy opposition forces despite being a Gaddafi adherent for more than 25 years.

However any expectation of extradition appears foggy at present with the Arab state in the middle of a bitter conflict and official ties between Britain and Libya non-existent.

The Libyan rebels, being the great sticklers for international law and administrative process that they are, hesitate to ship Sodani to the UK before they have official diplomatic ties. But - oh, hey, guess what? - now they have those ties.

So is the time finally right for Sodani's extradition? Or will it be right only after £91 million in frozen assets flow to the TNC?


Anonymous said...

Suicide blast kills mayor of Kandahar

TSB: Did we know he was a US citizen?
Amazing that all these Kandahar power brokers are getting knocked off. I wouldn't want to be a State development worker in Kandahar or Farah or anywhere outside the embassy. gwb

Anonymous said...

Pakistan to get rid of Bali bombing suspect
By Amir Mir (ATimes july 27)
ps: can't Indonesia send him to the Phillipines?

Anonymous said...

Libya Rebel Military Chief Younis, Qaddafi Defector, Is Killed, Jalil Says
By Caroline Alexander and Nadeem Hamid - Jul 28, 2011 4:44 PM PT

TSB: Sounds like this might be related to your post??? gwb

TSB said...

I assume the schwacking of Gen. Younis was the outcome of a power struggle between him and the man who replaced him as head of the rebel army, Khalifa Hefter, an ex-general who returned to join the rebels after 20 years of exile in the U.S.

Now, let's see whether Younis's old Benghazi Interior Ministry brigade, which he persuaded to defect to the rebel en masse, responds by going to the mattresses against Hefter.

Anonymous said...

Ahh! Hefter is the guy I said might be working for the CIA. But Younis wanted to make amends for the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher years ago. Adding big $$$ to this is going to be interesting. gwb

TSB said...

I'm not sure the Fletcher matter is of any real interest to the rebel leadership (any more than it was to the Qaddafi leadership, and of course those two groups overlap). It's a bargaining chip only.

Whether they would turn him over to the UK depends on practical considerations, such as, who are his cousins (tribe, patronage network) and would we make enemies of them?

The Libyans have been here before, but for much bigger stakes. They gave the UK a sacrificial lamb for the Lockerbie / Pan Am bombing in order to normalize their relations with the West, and years later the UK gave him back in a deal tainted by oil concessions.