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Libyan top diplomat suspended from office over extradition move — source

bya’s Presidential Council suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mohammed El Mangoush from office on Saturday evening

CAIRO, November 7. /TASS/. Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mohammed El Mangoush was suspended from office after her decision to extradite to the United States a man wanted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, a source in Libya’s Government of National Accord told TASS on Sunday.

"The Presidential Council resolved to suspend El Mangoush from office and initiate an investigation against her at a request from intelligence services after she sanctioned extradition of Libyan citizen Abu Agila Mohammed Masud to the United States, in connection with the Lockerbie plane blast case," he said.

Libya’s Presidential Council suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mohammed El Mangoush from office on Saturday evening, citing unspecified violations that she had reportedly committed, the Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel reported. A special commission, chaired by Deputy Head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi, has been set up to investigate the matter. El Mangoush was barred from leaving the country. According to Al Arabia, the Presidential Council accused her of acting independently on the foreign arena on behalf of the Libyan state and failing to coordinate her actions with the Council.


Lockerbie blast

Last week, Tripoli announced it was ready to extradite to the United States former Libyan intelligence agent Abu Agila Mohammed Masud, suspected of involvement into the 1988 Lockerbie plane crash. El Mangoush said her government was ready to cooperate with Washington on this matter.

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 en route from Frankfurt to New York exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people (243 passengers and 16 crew) on board and 11 on the ground. According to the most popular version, the blast was organized by Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s special services in revenge for the 1986 US bombing of Libya.

In 1999, Libya extradited two suspects to the United Kingdom. One of them was found not guilty, while the other sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 2015, Scottish prosecutors identified two new potential suspects in the case and requested the Libyan government’s assistance in questioning those individuals. However, the request was left unanswered due to ongoing hostilities and de-facto duality of power in the country.