US commando raids: John Kerry defends capture of Libyan terror suspect Abu Anas al-Liby in Tripoli

Secretary of State says al-Qa’ida terrorists can ‘run but they can’t hide’ as Libya questions US abduction of Anas al-Liby

John Kerry has defended the capture of an alleged al-Qa’ida suspect in Tripoli on Saturday, calling Abu Anas al-Liby “a legal and appropriate target” for the US Military.

The US Secretary of State said al-Libi –  a former UK resident charged with involvement in the 1998 Kenya and Tanzania US embassy bombings – would have “an opportunity to defend himself” in a US court of law.

Speaking from an economic summit in Indonesia, Mr Kerry, a former prosecutor and assistant District Attorney, said: “An indictment is an accusation. In our legal system the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilt”.

From the side-lines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation conference, Mr Kerry told reporters: ”I hope the perception is in the world that people who commit acts of terror and who have been appropriately indicted by courts of law, by the legal process, will know that United States of America is going to do anything in its power that is legal and appropriate in order to enforce the law and to protect our security.“

He added: “We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror. Members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organisations literally can run but they can't hide.”

The US Secretary of State spoke out following criticism of the US from the Libyan government.

In a statement the Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zaidan, said: “The Libyan government is following the news of the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen who is wanted by US authorities. The Libyan government has contacted US authorities to ask them to provide an explanation.”

Al-Liby, who is accused of working as a computer specialist for al-Qa’ida and had a place on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, was seized when returning to his car after morning prayers on the morning of Saturday.

Reports differ as to whether there was Libyan involvement in the capture of Anas al-Liby, otherwise known as Nazig al-Ragye.

Appearing on Tripoli's Nabir TV station, al-Liby's son Abdullah al-Ruqai said: “The people who took my father were Libyan, not Americans – they spoke with Tripoli accents.

Her added: “My mother was listening to the voices in the street and could see it all through the window. There were two cars and a bus with blacked-out windows and no number plates.”

But the Libyan government would neither confirm nor deny involvement in the arrest, saying it had not been planned in advance and that “clarification” was desired from the US government.

A press release posted on the Libyan government website read: “The Libyan government is keen on prosecuting any Libyan citizen inside Libya, no matter what the charges are... the accused are innocent until proven guilty.”

The two countries appear to be at odds, however, as a Pentagon statement on Sunday said al-Liby was “currently lawfully detained under the law of war in a secure location outside of Libya”.

The double-intervention in north and east Africa – a reportedly unsuccessful commando raid also occurred in southern Somalia on Saturday – appears to be evidence of the growing military reach of the US in the region.

In his address to the UN general conference a fortnight ago, President Barack Obama appeared to forecast future action in the area, saying: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.”

Later this month the UK Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to face questions from MPs as to why Abu Anas Al-Liby gained asylum in Britain during the 1990s.

The 49-year-old was arrested by the Metropolitan Police 1999 - the year after the embassy bombings left more than 220 people dead - but was afterwards released and later fled the UK.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Davidson performs his comedy show at Edinburgh Festival 2014
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager - Refrigeration

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Finance Manager - Central London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Business Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Buyer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning IT company are currently re...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor