NOUAKCHOTT - Muammar Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, arrested in Mauritania in March and sought by Libya, France and the International Criminal Court (ICC), is to face local charges in Mauritania, a judicial source said on Monday.
"Abdullah al-Senussi has been interviewed for the first time by the state prosecutor. He should face trial soon for illegal entry into Mauritanian territory," said the source, who requested anonymity.
The decision to proceed with the charges comes after the expiry of his 45-day custody period and could mean any extradition of Senussi to face justice outside Mauritania is delayed, especially if he is found guilty.
Senussi was arrested as he flew in to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott from Casablanca, Morocco on a falsified Malian passport. His detention triggered a three-way tug-of-war between the ICC, Paris and Tripoli for the right to try him.
Senussi is suspected of playing a central role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli's Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer acting for relatives of the victims that sparked Libya's revolt in February last year.