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Libya moves for Gadhafi spy chief's extradition

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, is pictured in Tripoli on June 22, 2011. Judges at the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and Senussi for war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 27, 2011. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, is pictured in Tripoli on June 22, 2011. Judges at the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and Senussi for war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 27, 2011. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Interpol issues the Red Notice alert at Libya's request
  • Mauritanian security authorities hold Abdullah al-Senussi
  • Libya accuses him of "embezzling public funds and misuse of power"
  • Al-Senussi also faces imprisonment for a 1989 terror attack on a French airliner over Niger

Editor's note: Read this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Interpol issued a Red Notice alert for Libya's former spy chief, who was arrested in Mauritania last week and is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Libya requested the international alert, a step toward the extradition of Abdullah al-Senussi, the country's former chief of intelligence and one of the Gadhafi regime's most wanted men, according to an Interpol statement Sunday.

"Libyan authorities are currently making intensive contact with their Mauritanian counterparts regarding the handover of al-Senussi based on an arrest warrant issued by the Libyan prosecutor general," a Libyan government statement said Sunday.

Al-Senussi was already the subject of a Red Notice issued last September by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Mauritania is not a member state of the International Criminal Court, but the west Africa country is an Interpol signatory.

Mauritanian security authorities arrested al-Senussi, brother-in-law of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Friday evening at Nouakchott airport, a Libyan transitional government spokesman said.

He was carrying a fake passport from Mali at the time of his arrest.

He was accompanied "by a young man believed to be one of his sons," the Libyan government said.

Libya's request the Red Notice for "fraud offences including embezzling public funds and misuse of power for personal benefit," the Interpol statement said.

France is also in the process of requesting al-Senussi's extradition from Mauritania, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.

Al-Senussi is the subject of an international arrest warrant following his sentencing in absentia to life imprisonment for the September 19, 1989, terror attack on UTA flight 772, killing 170 people, including 54 French nationals, when the French airliner exploded over Niger.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Tripoli, Libya, contributed to this report.

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