Abdullah Senussi

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Abdullah Senussi
Personal details
Born (1949-12-05) 5 December 1949 (age 70)
Gira, Libya
OccupationHead of Libyan Military Intelligence
Military service
AllegianceLibya Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Branch/serviceLibyan Army
RankMajor General
Battles/warsYom Kippur War (1973)

Chadian–Libyan conflict (1978–1987)

First Libyan Civil War

Abdullah (al) Senussi (/əbˈdʌlə ɑːl səˈnsi/ (About this soundlisten) əb-DUL-ə ahl sə-NOO-see; born 5 December 1949) is a Libyan national who was the intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He was married to Gaddafi's sister-in-law.[1]

Scottish police officers plan to interview him in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, raising the prospect of a second Lockerbie trial.[2]

Gaddafi government[edit]

According to The Guardian, Sanussi has had a reputation for evolving Libya's military since the 1970s. During the 1980s he was head of internal security in Libya, at a time when many opponents of Gaddafi were killed. Later, he was described as the head of military intelligence, but it is unclear whether he actually held an official rank. He was also thought to have been behind an alleged plot in 2003 to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.[1]

After Senussi's marriage to Gaddafi's wife's sister in the 1979 he entered the elite circle of Libya's leader and assume various roles including deputy chief of the external security organisation.[3]

US embassy cables described him as being a confidant of Gaddafi who makes "many of his medical arrangements".[1]

2011 Libyan civil war[edit]

During the 2011 Libyan civil war, he was blamed for failing to orchestrating killings in the city of Benghazi. He was believed to have extensive business interests in Libya.[1]

On 1 March 2011, Libya's Quryna newspaper reported that Gaddafi had sacked him.[4]

On 16 May 2011, the International Criminal Court prosecutor sought an arrest warrant for Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.[5]

On 21 July 2011, Libyan opposition sources claimed that Senussi had been killed in an attack by armed rebels in Tripoli; however, a few hours later the same sources recanted on their earlier claim and some even said he might have just been injured.[6]

On 30 August 2011, there were reports that both Senussi's son, Mohammed Abdullah al-Senussi,[7] and Muammar Gaddafi's son, Khamis, were killed during clashes with NATO and NTC forces in Tarhuna.[8] In October, Arrai TV, a pro-Gaddafi network in Syria, confirmed that Khamis Gaddafi had been killed on 29 August and falsely reported that Mohammed Senussi was killed that day as well.[9] On 20 October, Niger foreign minister Mohammad Bazoum told Reuters that he had fled to Niger.[10] However, a Libyan fighter later told the Guardian that the rebels had the possession of three other men who were in Gaddafi's convoy when he was killed and that he believed one them was Senussi.[11] The other two were identified as Gaddafi's slain son Mutassim and one of his military commanders Mansour Dhao,[11] who was still alive and confirmed his identity, as well as details of Gaddafi's death,[11] to Human Rights Watch while in the hospital;[11] Dhao was earlier thought to have fled to Niger.[11]

Later reports surfaced that Senussi from his hideout in Niger was helping Saif al-Islam Gaddafi escape from Libya.[12] Senussi was reportedly captured on 20 November near the city of Sabha. It was afterwards reported that he would be taken to Tripoli to stand trial for charges of crimes against humanity, according to the National Transitional Council.[13] However, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo doubted Senussi was captured.[14] Libyan defense minister Osama Jweli also stated that there was no evidence Senussi had been captured.[15] On 4 December 2011, Abdullah Nakir, a Libyan official, told Al Arabiya that Senussi was arrested and was being questioned about a secret nuclear facility Gaddafi was operating,[16] but admitted that the Libyan government was unable to produce any photographs of him in custody.[16]

Arrest and legal cases[edit]

On 17 March 2012, news reports stated that Senussi had been arrested at Nouakchott airport in Mauritania.[17][18] The Libyan government is reported as having requested his extradition to Libya.[19]

In September 2012, Lebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour and a Lebanese judge questioned him on the fate of Imam Musa Sadr.[20] On 5 September 2012, Mauritania extradited Senussi to Libyan authorities. A trial against Senussi for crimes he allegedly committed during the time he was the close assistant to Gaddafi started in Libya.[21] On the grounds that Senussi's case was being tried in Libyan courts, the International Criminal Court (ICC) concluded its case against Senussi in July 2014.[22]

In July 2015, Senussi was sentenced to death by a Libyan court; the case was under appeal as of October 2015.[23] As of 9 May 2018, the ICC continued to monitor the progress of the Libyan legal proceedings against Senussi.[24] In March 2019, twenty family member and members of Senussi's tribe, the Magerha, called for Senussi to be released on the basis of medical problems and "to contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation".[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Black, Ian (22 February 2011). "Gaddafi's confidant is Abdullah Senussi, a brutal right-hand man". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  2. ^ Davidson, Lorraine (9 December 2011). "Scots police to question Gaddafi henchman". The Times Scotland. London. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Profile: Abdullah al-Senussi". BBC. 5 September 2012.
  4. ^ Black, Ian (1 March 2011). "Libya uprising – Tuesday 1 March as it happened: part 2". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  5. ^ Gray-Block, Aaron (16 May 2011). "ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Gaddafi". Reuters. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  6. ^ "July 21st Updates". Libya February 17th. 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Libya conflict: Bani Walid siege talks 'have failed'". BBC News. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Is Gadhafi's Son Actually Dead?". International Business Times. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  9. ^ "TV station mourns death of Gaddafi's son Khamis in Libya". Reuters Africa. Reuters. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  10. ^ Flynn, Daniel (20 October 2011). "Gaddafi spy chief believed to be hiding in Niger-formin". Reuters Africa. Paris. Reuters. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e Stephen, Chris; Beaumont, Peter (23 October 2011). "Gaddafi's last words as he begged for mercy: 'What did I do to you?'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  12. ^ Nakhoul, Samia (24 October 2011). "Gaddafi son preparing to flee Libya: NTC official". Reuters. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  13. ^ Karadsheh, Jomana (20 November 2011). "Gadhafi intelligence chief captured, Libya official says". CNN. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Stephen, Chris (24 November 2011). "Libya defence minister disputes Abdullah al-Senussi capture claims". The Guardian. London.
  16. ^ a b "Al-Senussi, Libya's 'Black Box', being questioned about suspected nuclear site". Al Arabiya. Dubai. 4 December 2011. Archived from the original on 5 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Gaddafi spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi held in Mauritania". BBC News. 17 March 2012.
  18. ^ "Muammar Gaddafi's spy chief Senussi 'arrested in Mauritania'". Daily Telegraph. 17 March 2012.
  19. ^ "Libya demands handover of Gaddafi spy chief Senussi". BBC News. 18 March 2012.
  20. ^ Dakroub, Hussein (3 September 2012). "Mansour, Lebanese judge to question Sanousi on Sadr's fate". The Daily Star. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Mauritania 'extradites Libya ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi'". BBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Eighth report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011)" (PDF). International Criminal Court. 11 November 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Profile: Abdullah al-Senussi". bbc.co.uk. BBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  24. ^ The Office of the Prosecutor (9 May 2018). "Fifteenth report of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations Security Council pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011)" (PDF). International Criminal Court. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Libya: Protesters demand release of Gaddafi-era spy chief Senussi". Al Jazeera English. 24 March 2019. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.

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