Africa

Libya terror suspect Anas al-Liby dies before US trial

Anas Al-Liby shown in FBI photo
Image caption Anas Al-Liby had pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in the US

An alleged al-Qaeda leader has died just days before going on trial in New York over the 1998 US embassy attacks in Africa.

Abu Anas al-Liby, 50, died in hospital on Friday, his wife and lawyers say. He is reported to have had liver cancer.

Mr Liby was seized in a US raid in Tripoli in October 2013.

He was to stand trial on 12 January over the 1998 embassy attacks, which killed more than 220 people in Kenya and Tanzania.

Mr Liby, whose real name was Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, previously pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

His wife, Um Abdullah, accused the US government on Saturday of "kidnapping, mistreating and killing an innocent man," according to the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A court sketch shows Abu Anas al-Liby with lawyer Bernard Kleinman

She said her husband died from complications following liver surgery, AP reports.

When he was seized in 2013, Mr Liby had been on the FBI's most wanted list for more than a decade, with a $5m (£3.1m) bounty on his head. He had been indicted by a New York grand jury in 2000.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to defend the capture after Libya called on the US to explain the raid on its territory.

Many people in Libya were angry about what they said was a breach of the country's sovereignty.

Mr Liby was detained by US commandos on 5 October 2013 and interrogated on board a US warship before being handed over to FBI agents.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Thousands of people were injured in the blasts targeting US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania

He was first put on a US Navy ship for interrogation but brought to the US when his health began to deteriorate after he stopped eating and drinking, US officials said.

Mr Liby, who was also known to be suffering from hepatitis C, was accused of being one of the masterminds of the al-Qaeda embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.

Two other men were accused over the attacks. Khalid Al Fawwaz has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges and was due to stand trial on 12 January alongside Mr Liby.

Meanwhile, Adel Abdul Bary admitted helping to plan the attacks in a federal court in New York in September. The Egyptian, who was extradited from the UK in 2012, faces a maximum of 25 years behind bars.

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