Libya has requested the handover of Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief after his capture in Mauritania.
Abdullah Senussi was detained on Saturday as he arrived on an Air Morocco flight from Casablanca. He was carrying a forged Malian passport and is now under police interrogation in Mauritania, a Libyan government spokesperson confirmed.
"Clearly we are going to make a formal request to hand him over because he needs to stand trial in Libya, because he committed all these crimes against the Libyan people," Mustafa Abushagur, Libya’s deputy prime minister, said on Saturday.
Interpol issued an alert seeking the arrest and extradition of Senoussi.
Libyan authorities may have requested the red notice, issued on Sunday, in attempt to ensure they take custody of the man accused of attacking civilians during the uprising last year.
Interpol defines a red notice as an alert "to seek the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition."
The subjects of red notices are considered to be on the Lyon, France-based organisation's most-wanted list.
Senussi was the right-hand man and brother-in-law of Gaddafi, who was deposed from power and eventually killed in a nine-month uprising against his decades-long rule last year.
The 62-year-old spy chief, along with Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam, was indicted on suspicion of war crimes by the ICC last June and his whereabouts had been unknown since Tripoli, Libya’s capital, fell to rebel forces last August.
The ICC indictment accuses Senussi of being an "indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity of murder and persecution based on political grounds" committed in the eastern city and rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Johnston said that Mauritania was not a signatory to the ICC, which means it is under no obligation to deport Senussi to the Netherlands-based court.
Senussi's whereabouts had remained a mystery since the collapse of the Gaddafi regime as Tripoli fell last August. Security sources in Niger and Mali said in October that Senussi and several of his men passed through their territory, while Libya's new government erroneously announced his capture in November.
Senussi is also wanted in France where he was one of six Libyans convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison in France for the 1989 bombing of a French passenger over Niger that killed all 170 people on board.
The French government had previously asked that he be handed over to their custody.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|