The Death of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi (from Harper’s Magazine)


The Washington Post reports that a “former CIA high-value detainee, who provided bogus information that was cited by the Bush Administration in the run-up to the Iraq war, has died in a Libyan prison, an apparent suicide, according to a Libyan newspaper.”

The dead man is Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, and I wouldn’t bet big money that he was a suicide, as Libya doesn’t treat political detainees very well. A few years ago, I reported on the CIA’s close collaboration with Libya in the Bush Administration’s “war on terror.” Here’s an excerpt:

Kadafi has helped the U.S. pursue Al Qaeda’s network in North Africa by turning radicals over to neighboring pro-Western governments. He also has provided information to the CIA on Libyan nationals with alleged ties to international terrorists. In turn, the U.S. has handed over to Tripoli some anti-Kadafi Libyans captured in its campaign against terrorism. And Kadafi’s agents have been allowed into the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba to interrogate Libyans being held there…

Clive Stafford Smith, an attorney who represents Omar Deghayes [and dozens of other Guantanamo detainees], said it appeared his client had been mistaken for a militant in a training video made by Chechen rebels.

Deghayes told Stafford Smith that four Libyan intelligence officers had interrogated him and other Libyans in September 2004. He said he was fully shackled when the Libyans questioned him Sept. 9 about alleged anti-Kadafi activities, in the presence of three Americans in civilian clothes. Two days later, the Libyans questioned him again, this time about anti-Kadafi exiles based in Britain.

According to Deghayes, Kadafi’s agents showed him pictures of badly beaten Libyan detainees, and one of the agents told him: “You will be brought to judgment in Libya, and when we bring you to Libya, I will personally teach you the meaning of this. In here I cannot do anything, but if I meet you [later], I will kill you.”

Deghayes was released from Guantanamo in 2007 and was returned to Britain, where he previously lived.

Harper’s Magazine

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