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SAS squad hunt killer of Pc Yvonne Fletcher amid fighting in Libya
Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent
30 Aug 2011
A squad of six SAS men and an MI6 officer are hunting the killer of Pc Yvonne Fletcher, sources said today.
A special forces team in Libya is understood to have been told to track down three men allegedly involved in the shooting.
Pc Fletcher, 25, was killed in 1984 while policing an anti-Gaddafi protest outside the Libyan embassy in London.
She was shot by diplomats from a window of the embassy.
No one was ever charged with her killing and suspects from inside the embassy were allowed to flee the UK under diplomatic immunity.
Now a man believed to be a prime suspect has been named as junior diplomat Abdulmagid Salah Ameri.
He is believed to be one of the men being hunted by the British elite unit.
Talks have also taken place between the Metropolitan Police and the Foreign Office over sending detectives to Tripoli to seek to bring Pc Fletcher's killers to justice.
The crack troops, alongside Qatari special forces, have been co-ordinating air strikes on Colonel Gaddafi's troops, downloading images from drones and other spy planes to identify destroyed targets before rebels advance.
Experts say special forces would have played a role in the rebels seizing the brutal dictator's presidential compound in Tripoli last week.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has played down claims that the new Libyan government will block fresh efforts to secure justice for Pc's Fletcher murder. The Foreign Secretary said the leader of the National Transitional Council had pledged to "cooperate fully" with the British authorities.
NTC chiefs have sent out conflicting messages over the likelihood of extraditing to Britain any diplomat suspected of being involved in her killing. However, one suggested that a "special agreement" could be reached.
Pc Fletcher's mother, Queenie Fletcher, 78, told the Standard last week that the downfall of the Gaddafi regime was the "best chance" to find her daughter's killer.
She said: "Even after all these years, I very much hope that somebody is brought to justice."
Meanwhile, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has dismissed calls to seek to re-jail the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi who is now believed to be close to death. TV images have shown him looking very ill.
Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora, 23, in the 1988 atrocity, called for Megrahi to be left in peace to die.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/ ... n-libya.do
Yvonne Fletcher murder suspect 'shot dead'
By David Hughes and Sam Lister, PA
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
One of the Libyans suspected of involvement in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher has been killed, rebel officials in Tripoli have announced.
Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi, who was an official in the Libyan embassy in London at the time of the 1984 murder, was shot in the head.
British police hope to travel to Libya to investigate the murder of WPC Fletcher, who was shot while on duty outside the embassy in London.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said officers would assess whether the news of al-Baghdadi's death would affect their investigation.
Mr Hague told the BBC: "This is the subject of a Metropolitan Police investigation that is going on and will go on into the future so I don't want to prejudge immediately what has been announced.
"Of course we will want to know a good deal more about what the NTC (National Transitional Council) say has happened in this case and I'm sure the police will want to know and assess themselves whether it affects their investigation in any way."
The Daily Telegraph last week claimed that a report has been drawn up for the Crown Prosecution Service which includes a witness account claiming junior diplomat Abdulmagid Salah Ameri was seen firing a gun on the day of WPC Fletcher's death.
The newspaper reported that al-Baghdadi was named as a co-conspirator in the CPS files, with Matouk Mohammed Matouk.
Earlier Mr Hague told Sky News that officers from the Metropolitan Police could travel to Libya in the course of their investigation once the security situation had improved.
"The NTC have always said to us, including when their chairman was here in London in May, that they would co-operate fully with the British authorities on these subjects and this is one of the priorities for us in future relations with Libya.
"Diplomatically, we will help the Metropolitan Police to conduct investigations, including in Libya, when the security on the ground allows that."
But questions remained about whether any of the suspects involved in the murder could stand trial in the UK.
Mr Hague said: "Libya does have a law that prevents it from extraditing its own citizens to other countries, but of course these are all issues we will have to resolve depending on how the police investigation goes on."
A spokesman for the rebel council in Tripoli said al-Baghdadi's death was probably the result of an "inside vendetta" within the Gaddafi regime.
Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the National Security Council, which discussed developments on the ground, the humanitarian situation and the unfreezing of Libyan assets.
The meeting also looked ahead to the Libya summit being held on Thursday in Paris, which is being co-chaired by Mr Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, although officials said the agenda is "still being worked through".
The aim is to agree what else the international community can do "in order to help the Libyans' reach their goal of a secure and peaceful country that is Libyan led", Downing Street said.
Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi were given a deadline of Saturday to surrender by NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
He has warned that rebel forces are planning to take over the remaining loyalist areas in the coming days, including Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.
Mr Hague said he hoped that Gaddafi loyalists would surrender to prevent further bloodshed.
He told Sky: "They are in a fairly hopeless situation militarily, without prospect of resupply or reinforcement to any significant degree.
"They have been given this chance over the next few days to consider their situation, to bring this to an end, to lay down their arms."
Rebels are also calling for Algeria to hand back Gaddafi's wife Safiya, daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed, who fled there over the weekend.
The new Libyan government, being set up by the NTC, may seek to extradite the relatives and bring them to justice.
However, Algeria's autocratic regime has not yet recognised the new Libyan administration and has successfully snuffed out anti-government protests within its own borders.
Almost £1 billion of Libyan currency held in the UK will be released to the country's central bank after the UN Sanctions Committee approved the measure.
Some 1.86 billion Libyan Dinar (£950 million) of newly printed banknotes were held in the UK under sanctions imposed on the Gaddafi regime.
Mr Hague said: "This represents another major step forward in getting necessary assistance to the Libyan people, building on the remarkable progress in recent days.
"These banknotes, which were frozen in the UK under UN sanctions, will help address urgent humanitarian needs, instil confidence in the banking sector, pay salaries of key public sector workers and free up liquidity in the economy."
Libya: suspect in killing of WPc Yvonne Fletcher found by rebel government
Libya’s new rebel government knows the location of one of the alleged accomplices to the murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher, threatening a diplomatic row, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
Matouq Mohamed Matouq is the last named suspect in the death of WPc Fletcher
By Richard Spencer, and Andrew Gilligan in Tripoli and Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
10:08PM BST 30 Aug 2011
The administration has confirmed that it knows the whereabouts of Matouk Mohammed Matouk, who was named in Crown Prosecution Service papers as one of two “conspirators” who could be charged in connection with the killing outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984. He is the last named suspect believed to still be alive.
A source close to Mr Matouk said yesterday that he had attempted to defect to the National Transitional Council as Tripoli fell 10 days ago.
The main rebel-backed television station alleged that Mr Matouk had been placed under arrest formally due to his long service with the Gaddafi regime. Ali Tarhouni, the de facto deputy prime minister of the new government, denied that, but admitted: “We know where he is.”
The second man named by the CPS as a conspirator in the shooting, Abdulgader al-Baghdadi, was found dead. An official from the transitional council confirmed that his body had been discovered last week, but was only recently identified. He had been shot, possibly by former regime apparatchiks hoping to silence him.
At the weekend, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that a British witness outside the embassy had identified a junior official, Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, as the man suspected of firing the fatal shots. He has never been traced since he was deported along with other embassy officials after an 11-day stand-off and is thought to have died.
That leaves Mr Matouk as the only suspect believed still alive. The disclosure that the rebels know where he is will lead to pressure on Libya’s new government to co-operate with the Scotland Yard investigation into WPc Fletcher’s death and on David Cameron to secure his extradition to face trial in Britain.
Downing Street announced yesterday that it was seeking to send police officers to Libya to continue their investigation into the murder.
“In terms of Yvonne Fletcher, there is an ongoing police investigation and we are working with the NTC to see whether we can ensure those investigations continue in Libya,” a spokesman for No 10 said.
WPc Fletcher was killed by a bullet that hit her in the abdomen while policing a protest by anti-Gaddafi demonstrators outside the embassy in April 1984.
An 11-day armed siege followed that ended when 30 Libyans from the embassy were deported. No one has ever been charged over the killing.
After leaving Britain, both Mr Matouk and Mr Baghdadi were richly rewarded for their services to the regime. Mr Baghdadi was chairman of the revolutionary committees, a senior regime post, at the time of his death.
Osama al-Abed, a member of the revolutionary council for the capital, said his body was found a week ago in Tajoura, a suburb of eastern Tripoli.
It was one of six to eight bodies found in the same place, all shot, though Mr Abed would not give a precise location. He said that, because of the confusion in Tripoli, it took until yesterday morning for his body to be positively identified.
The rebels believed it was an “inside job” by the old regime, Mr Abed said. “Maybe it was score-settling,” he said.
Mr Matouk became a minister, first in education and then in housing and construction.
The friend who spoke to The Daily Telegraph, a former Gaddafi junior minister who indicated his support for the uprising early on and is now co-operating with the NTC, said Mr Matouk had also attempted to switch sides as the Gaddafi regime crumbled. He said his status was now “uncertain”.
The source also said Mr Matouk was a relative of Omane Boukraa, who was briefly oil minister but fled to Tunisia two days before Tripoli fell.
The Fletcher case, like that of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, is an embarrassment to the new government, which had promised not to extradite Libyan citizens. The NTC’s spokesman in Britain, Guma al-Gamaty, suggested yesterday that the new government was willing to consider any trial of an Yvonne Fletcher suspect outside the country.
Mr Tarhouni said: “As regards to the Fletcher case and a lot more cases, all these will be subject to co-operation in a legal way which reserves the rights of the victims and reserves the rights of Libyan national sovereignty.”
However, Abdulrazzaq Mukhtar, a member of the NTC, said: “He should be put on trial. He was one of the regime officials who kept Gaddafi in power for 42 years.”
Last night Tory MPs demanded Mr Matouk be extradited to Britain.
Daniel Kawczynski MP, the Conservative chairman of the all-party Libya group, said: “It is vital for the new Government to extradite him at the earliest opportunity. He has to be and must be to the UK. You can’t have British justice in a Libyan court. The crime was committed in the UK — it was a police officer on British soil. The only way to have a proper trial is in a British court in the UK. There can be no compromise on this.”
Robert Halfon, the Tory MP whose family were driven out of Libya when Gaddafi took power, said: “The Government has an absolute duty to continue the pressure to bring the murderer of Yvonne Fletcher, or their accomplices, to Britain. We must learn the lesson of al-Megrahi and ensure that those who murdered British citizens are brought to justice here, and not only brought to justice here but stay here for their punishment.”
Civil servants are likely to be poring over the detail of four-year-old agreement between Britain and Libya that any murder suspect can be tried in Libya.
The deal was set out in letters between Anthony Layden, Britain’s ambassador in Libya, and Abdelati Obeidi, Libya’s secretary for foreign affairs, in April 2006.
In the letters, released by the Foreign Office, Mr Layden said: “It remains the UK’s understanding that, in concluding the joint investigation, it would be for the Libyan authorities to decide whether any suspect, if identified, should be prosecuted in Libya in accordance with the Libyan penal code.”
Mr Obeidi replied in a letter that Libya “attaches the utmost importance to the conclusion of the joint Libyan/UK investigation into the death of WPc Fletcher.
“As was agreed previously, it would be an important step toward the conclusion of the investigation of a Libyan investigating magistrate and his colleagues from the UK were to question the witnesses soon”.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told Sky News: “The National Transitional Council are saying that they would co-operate fully with the British authorities on these subjects and this is one of the priorities for us in future relations with Libya.
“Diplomatically, we will help the Metropolitan Police conduct the investigation when the security on the ground allows that.
“Libya does have a law that prevents it from extraditing its own citizens to other countries but these are all issues we will have to resolve depending on the police investigation.”
Mr Hague said he did not think there would be a “new announcement on this imminently” and added that police would have to assess the effect of Mr Baghdadi’s death.
Libya: suspect in killing of WPc Yvonne Fletcher found by rebel government - Telegraph
Yvonne Fletcher's killer will soon be brought to justice says Britain's top police officer
Apr 17, 2014 21:28
By Nick Sommerlad
A £3million undercover operation in Libya’s capital Tripoli has seen MI6 put the family and friends of prime suspect Matouk Mohamed Matouk under surveillance
Britain’s top policeman said he was moving closer to catching the killer of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe promised that progress was finally being made, 30 years after the officer was gunned down outside the Libyan Embassy in London.
The Daily Mirror revealed details of a £3million undercover operation in Libya’s capital Tripoli that has seen MI6 put the family and friends of prime suspect Matouk Mohamed Matouk under 24-hour surveillance.
Speaking after a service to mark the anniversary of Yvonne’s death, Sir Bernard said: “We are making progress and remain confident."
Asked if he was hopeful of catching the killer, the Scotland Yard chief said: “There is every chance that that will be successful.”
Yvonne’s colleague John Murray, who cradled the 25-year-old as she lay dying, said he had been told Matouk had fled to Egypt as Colonel Gaddafi’s regime crumbled in 2011 and is being protected by Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalists.
Yvonne’s family said in a statement after the service: “To many it may seem like a fading memory but to the family it is as clear as yesterday.
"We have had to move on with our lives but it is difficult to move forward with the past unresolved.
"Closure is important to the family so that we can remember Yvonne as the happy caring person she was.
"Our desire for justice is as strong as ever.”
After a two-minute silence, the family laid flowers at the spot where the young policewoman was fatally wounded as she policed a protest against Gaddafi.
An inquest ruled she had been killed by a sub-machine gun fired from the first floor of the embassy. Ten others were hit.
Her death led to an 11-day siege of the building and the severing of diplomatic links.
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Yvonne Fletcher murder inquiry dropped over national security fears
Police say they believe they could identify those responsible for police officer’s death, but evidence could not be shown in court
Kevin Rawlinson and Vikram Dodd
Tuesday 16 May 2017 19.23 BST
First published on Tuesday 16 May 2017 18.15 BST
The investigation of a man arrested over the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London has been dropped after it was decided that much of the evidence gathered could not be presented because of national security concerns.
Detectives said on Tuesday they believed they could identify those responsible for the 1984 murder of Fletcher, but that the evidence prosecutors would be able to present to a court would not be enough to get a conviction.
A statement from Fletcher’s family said: “We are deeply disappointed and frustrated that a prosecution cannot proceed at this time. We had hoped that the latest turn of events would finally lead to some closure for the family.”
The man, who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, was believed to be still in the UK, said Ken Marsh, the chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation. Marsh said of the news that the suspect would have no action taken against them: “It is disappointing because we will never cease to try and get the perpetrator who killed Yvonne Fletcher. We still cling on to hope we will get who did it.”
Scotland Yard said: “The man, arrested on 19 November 2015, has today been released from police bail and advised that the investigation against him will not be proceeded with at this time.”
The Guardian previously identified the man arrested as Dr Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, a former minister in Muammar Gaddafi’s government and a high-ranking member of the team tasked by the regime with suppressing opposition. Police refused to confirm his identity on Tuesday.
Fletcher, who was 25, was hit in the back by automatic gunfire from the direction of the Libyan embassy on the morning of 17 April 1984. Libyan exiles in the UK, some of whom were also injured, had been protesting against the Gaddafi regime. Fletcher died later that day at Westminster hospital. Her fiance, Michael Liddle, who was also a police officer, was at her side.
The murder led to a 10-day police siege of the embassy and the severing of diplomatic relations with the Libyan regime, as well as the deportation of 30 of the people who were inside the building.
Moment PC Yvonne Fletcher is shot in 1984 – police video
Police said their investigation had “resulted in a deeper understanding” of the circumstances surrounding the killing and the “associated terrorist activity targeting Libyan dissidents in the UK and across Europe in the 1980s”.
Detectives said: “We believe our investigation has identified enough material to identify those responsible for WPC Fletcher’s murder if it could be presented to a court. However, the key material has not been made available for use in court in evidential form for reasons of national security.
“Therefore, without this material and following a review of all the evidence that was available to prosecutors, the Crown Prosecution Service – who we worked closely with throughout – have informed us that there is insufficient admissible evidence to charge the man.”
Mabrouk was with the demonstrators outside the embassy on the day Fletcher was killed and was deported from the UK after the murder. But that order was later lifted, allowing him to return to Britain under an initiative to improve relations with Libya that formed part of a deal ultimately aimed at bringing the Libyan Lockerbie bombing suspects to trial.
Scotland Yard said that counter-terrorism officers had pursued “hundreds of lines of inquiry”, including making visits to Libya to gather evidence and reviewing material previously unseen by the police, as they investigated what they said was an “act of state-sponsored terrorism”.
Although the investigation would remain open, police said the suspect’s release on Tuesday left little chance of the case ever being solved, which could have provided a “degree of closure for the victims and their families”. Fletcher’s family thanked officers, who they said had “left no stone unturned” in the investigation.
Fletcher “earned great respect from her colleagues and the community she served” after joining the force at the age of 18, the Met police’s assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, said. “The murder of a British police officer in broad daylight, outside an embassy, provoked a powerful reaction from the public and from officers at the time, and the tragedy of WPC Fletcher’s death continues to resonate with officers today,” he added.
“Every year, on the anniversary of WPC Fletcher’s death, serving and retired officers from the Met visit her memorial at St James’s Square to remember and mark their respects to a valued officer.
“I am extremely proud of the exceptional work the investigative team and the Crown Prosecution Service have carried out. I know they were incredibly determined to identify those responsible for the senseless murder of a colleague.
“I regret that we have not been able to deliver the justice that the victims and their families deserve. Our thoughts today are with WPC Fletcher’s family and all those affected by the events of that day in 1984.”
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “I cannot comment on the details of this case. I would however like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment the Metropolitan police have shown over a prolonged period of time to bring to justice those involved in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.
“WPC Fletcher was one of their own. Her murder remains as shocking and senseless as the day it occurred and I understand that the decision will be deeply disappointing and frustrating for all her family, friends and colleagues.”
The Mabrouk family has been approached for comment.
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