An alleged senior Al-Qaeda figure captured in Libya by U.S. special forces earlier this month has been brought to the United States to face arraignment on federal terrorism charges, U.S. officials said Monday.
The Libyan, Nazih al-Ragye, better known as Abu Anas Al Liby, is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians. He was seized by a U.S. Army Delta Force squad on the streets of Tripoli on Oct. 5 and was whisked onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
U.S. officials initially said they expected Al Liby would be held on the ship for weeks or months while under questioning by an elite U.S. interagency team known as the High-Value Target Interrogation Group, or HIG.
But a law-enforcement official said that soon after Al Liby's capture, it became clear to interrogators that he suffered from several chronic health conditions.
The official said his transfer to the custody of civilian authorities in the United States was necessary because medical facilities on the ship were not sophisticated enough to provide adequate care.
He was flown to the United States and handed over to civilian law enforcement over the weekend and was taken directly to the New York area, said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the chief federal prosecutor for Manhattan.
Al Liby is expected to appear before a judge Tuesday, Bharara said in a release. A criminal indictment was filed in 2001 against Al Liby and others suspected in the embassy bombings.
Al Liby's wife has said in media interviews that he suffers from hepatitis C. David Patton, the chief public defender for New York, who had requested that a judge appoint a defense lawyer for Al Liby, had no immediate comment on his transfer.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan declined Friday to assign a court-appointed attorney to Al Liby until he had been formally arrested.
It was not immediately known whether the suspect cooperated with U.S. interrogators or provided them with intelligence of any value. He was in military custody for about 10 days.