Accused Al-Qaeda Terrorist Anas Al-Liby in Custody in N.Y.

Accused al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al-Liby is set to appear in federal court in New York tomorrow to face charges stemming from the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Al-Liby was transferred to U.S. custody in Manhattan over the weekend, Bharara said in a statement today. U.S. forces captured al-Liby and detained him outside Libya, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Oct. 5. Al-Liby, a Libyan, was among a group of men charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan in 2000 with being a participant with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a global plot to attack U.S. citizens and facilities.

Al-Liby’s capture last month occurred in front of his home in Tripoli as he returned from a mosque, in an operation approved by President Barack Obama, according to Jumas al-Mishri, a Libyan Interior Ministry official. The Libyan government, in a statement on its official Facebook page at the time, said “Libyans should face trial in Libya regardless of the charges.”

Multiple Counts

Al-Liby was indicted for participating in the August 1998 near-simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed more than 224 people and injured thousands. He is charged with multiple counts including conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and to destroy U.S. buildings and installations.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation had placed a $5 million bounty seeking information on the whereabouts of al-Liby since he was named in the federal indictment in 2000.

“Anas al-Liby was transferred to law enforcement custody this weekend and was brought directly to the Southern District of New York where he has been under indictment for more than a decade,” Bharara said in the statement. “The government expects that he will be presented before a judicial officer tomorrow.”

On Oct. 11, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York, who is presiding over the embassy bombings case, denied a request by David Patton, a public defender, to appoint him as an attorney for al-Liby. Bharara’s office opposed Patton’s request because al-Liby must first prove he is indigent and can’t pay for a lawyer.

Prosecutors in Bharara’s office had argued that al-Liby “has not been criminally arrested” and “he has been detained by the United States Armed Forces acting under their own legal authorities.”

Kaplan cited one press report that al-Liby was being interrogated on a U.S. Naval vessel in the Mediterranean. The judge said Patton’s request could be renewed at a later date.

Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for Bharara’s office, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment about al-Liby. Patton didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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