By George Grant.
Tripoli, 16 July 2012:
A team from the UK’s Metropolitan Police will fly to Libya later this week to continue investigations . . .[restrict]into the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, the British foreign secretary announced today.
Speaking in Tripoli, William Hague confirmed that he had discussed the case with Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib, who authorised a previous visit to Libya by Scotland Yard last month.
“The next stage of the investigation will continue the work done in recent weeks”, Hague said.
“We have been very pleased with the cooperation received from the [Libyan] prosecutor general, who has appointed a prosecutor and an investigator. The next visit by the police will take place here next week”.
On Sunday, Libyan officials named Salah Eddin Khalifa, a pro-Qaddafi student present in the Libyan Embassy in London at the time of WPC Fletcher’s murder in 1984, as the possible killer.
WPC Fletcher is the only one of the 37 police officers murdered in Britain over the past 30 years whose case remains unsolved.
Hague refused to go into details about the investigation, in particular with regards to the British Government’s handling of Musa Kusa, Qaddafi’s former foreign minister, who defected to Britain last year.
“This investigation is being pursued by the Metropolitan Police”, Hague said. “It’s obviously not subject to political interference”.
Kusa has been described as “Qaddafi’s black box”, and the man most likely to hold answers to the case.
Shortly after his arrival in the UK on 30 March last year, Kusa was permitted to leave the country and he now lives in Qatar.
Earlier today, the Libya Herald met with the newly-appointed Libyan prosecutor, Shaban Habeshi, in an attempt to gather more details about the case.
Sitting in a smoke-filled office with no visible sign of activity, Habeshi said he had not yet seen the file and refused to answer further questions.
Although the Libyan government has said publicly that it is vigorously pursuing the case, the Libyan official who named the new suspect as Khalifa told this paper yesterday that solving WPC Fletcher’s murder was not a high priority.
“This case is not a priority one for us”, said Ashur Al-Shamis, a senior advisor to Al-Kib. “At the moment, our focus must be dealing with immediate issues and crisis management”.
Al-Kib has insisted that Libya is taking the case seriously and has apologised for any reports from members of his team that suggested otherwise. [/restrict]