Al-Liby capture: MPs to question Theresa May on why al-Qa’ida operative and 'most-wanted' seized by US in Libya was granted UK asylum in 1995

The computer expert, placed on the FBI's most wanted list in 2001, lived in Manchester for four years

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The Independent Online

MPs are to demand a full explanation from the Home Secretary after it emerged that one the world's most wanted men was granted political asylum in Britain.

Abu Anas al-Liby, a trusted lieutenant of Osama bin Laden and at one time al-Qa’ida's chief computer expert, was arrested on Saturday in a US Delta Force operation in Tripoli, Libya.

Al-Liby, whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqaie, was given asylum in Britain in 1995, and it is alleged he helped plan attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1998 in which 224 people were killed.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, will be raising the case with Home Secretary Theresa May when she appears before MPs on Tuesday.

Mr Vaz wants to ensure all the proper processes were undertaken with a man who was possibly known to the security and intelligence agencies at the time.

"We will want to look at the background of this case and will question the Home Secretary about it," he told the Telegraph. 

"It is highly relevant to our work on asylum and we will want to examine very carefully whether the proper checks were made."

According to a former FBI official, al-Liby was taken in for questioning by police in Manchester and questioned about the embassy bombings, but was released and later fled the country. When his house in the city was raided by police, they discovered a 180-page al-Qa’ida manual on methods of carrying out terror attacks and assassinations.

After his arrest, US officials said he had been hiding "in plain sight" in Tripoli, despite a $5m bounty having been put on his head.

His son, Abdullah al-Ruqaie, told the Telegraph that he was coming back from a mosque when he was snatched by “masked men”. He said: "He was kidnapped in front of the house not inside. If he had been kidnapped inside the house we would not have let them take him without a fight."

Al Liby was "lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside of Libya" last night, according to the Pentagon.