Libya rebels find suspect in British cop killing: Telegraph

31st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya's NTC confirmed on Tuesday it knows the whereabouts of a man suspected by Britain of being an accomplice in the 1984 murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, threatening a diplomatic row.

Britain's public prosecution service named Matouk Mohammed Matouk as one of two "conspirators" wanted over Fletcher's murder outside the Libyan embassy in London.

Ali Tarhouni, the new government's de facto deputy prime minister, denied that Matouk had been detained, but admitted: "We know where he is," according to the Daily Telegraph.

The second suspect, Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi, was reportedly found dead in Libya last week.

The revelation complicates the relationship between the National Transitional Council and Britain, which wants the suspect deported to Britain for trial.

The NTC's spokesman in Britain said earlier Tuesday that any suspects in the case could face justice outside Libya on agreement.

Guma al-Gamaty's assertion came after the rebel NTC's justice minister Mohammed al-Allagy told reporters in Tripoli that Libya would not "give any Libyan citizen to the West".

Gamaty said that any suspect in the case should face justice, either in Libya or elsewhere if an agreement could be struck.

Downing Street said the government was "in discussions" with the NTC on the matter and it was their "hope" that an agreement could be reached soon.

Fletcher, 25, was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy while policing peaceful demonstrations organised by Gamaty. Nobody has ever been charged with her murder.

The fatal shot was always believed to have been fired from inside the building, sparking an 11-day stand-off with police.

However, the killer was presumed to have left Britain among the 30 staff who were then deported under diplomatic immunity.

On Saturday, the Daily Telegraph quoted a witness as identifying Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, a junior diplomat who was then working in the administrative section, as the killer.

Gamaty told Sky News television: "Whoever has committed (the murder) should answer for their crimes, either in Libya or somewhere else if there are arrangements to be put in place and agreed between two countries.

"We want justice. We want to know who committed the crime."

Gamaty said 11 Libyans were also badly wounded in the gun assault.

"So we will definitely want justice and we want to know who did it and then they could be tried in Libya or if there are discussions or arrangements in the future, they could be tried anywhere else.

"These things... will be discussed between the British government and a future democratic government of Libya."

The British government believes the overthrow of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's regime would give investigators a much better chance of bringing a suspect to justice.

The killing led to Britain severing diplomatic relations with Libya until 1999 and has been a long-running sore in ties between London and Tripoli, along with the 1988 bombing of a passenger jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Downing Street said discussions would take place "when it is appropriate" about "outstanding issues that we have with Libya".

"In terms of Yvonne Fletcher there is an on-going police investigation and we are working with the NTC to see whether we can ensure those investigations continue in Libya," a spokeswoman said.

© 2011 AFP

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