TRIPOLI - Libya’s top political authority, the General National Congress, has demanded that the United States hand back the alleged al-Qaeda operative its forces seized from the capital, Tripoli, in a weekend raid.
A Congress statement on Tuesday read out by spokesman Omar Hmidan stressed “the need for the immediate surrender” of Abu Anas al-Liby and described the US operation as a “flagrant violation of [Libya’s] national sovereignty”.
The text, which was passed by the Congress, also called for the “need to allow the Libyan authorities and members of his family to get in touch with him and guarantee him access to a lawyer”.
It was the first official statement from Libya that clearly condemned the operation in which Liby was snatched by US forces in broad daylight in Tripoli on Saturday.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan insisted earlier on Tuesday that all Libyans should be tried on home soil.
The Congress declaration came after Libya’s Justice Minister summoned US Ambassador Deborah Jones to answer questions about the surprise raid.
Liby - whose real name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie - was on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $5m bounty on his head for his alleged role in the 1998 twin bombings of two US embassies in East Africa that left 224 dead.
His wife, Uma Abderahman, told Al Jazeera that her husband was taken from his home by masked men.
“There were at least ten of them and they were all armed, with silenced weapons,” she said. “It seems like they had drugged him.”
In a statement, Human Rights Watch called on the US to ensure Liby was quickly charged before a judge and given access to a lawyer in accordance with international law, adding that he should be tried in a civilian court.
A US interrogation team is questioning the alleged senior al-Qaeda figure who was whisked onto a navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea, US officials said.
The Libyan Prime Minister said that the US raid would not hurt Libya’s relations with Washington.
“Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care too about our citizens, which is our duty,” Zeidan said at a press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Abdelilah Benkirane during a three-day visit to Rabat.