Musa Kusa full statement on Lockerbie

Lockerbie: The scene of the terrorist attack.
Lockerbie: The scene of the terrorist attack.

Former Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa has denied being involved in torture under deposed dictator Colonel Gaddafi's regime. On Tuesday, he issued a statement through legal representatives in response to claims made on the BBC's Panorama programme.

This is his statement in full:

I make this statement in response to false allegations made by the BBC's Panorama that I was involved in the 1996 massacre at Abu Salim prison and in torturing political detainees. I have never tortured anyone nor been involved in torture; neither was I present at the massacre at Abu Salim prison.

I also had no involvement of any kind or knowledge of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 or the murder of WPC Fletcher in 1984.

I have voluntarily assisted the relevant investigatory authorities with their inquiries in relation to these matters.

I deny the allegation that during the 1980s (or at any other time) I was director of a so-called Interrogation Committee.

I had no involvement in Libya's intelligence and security organisations until my appointment as Head of the External Security Organisation (ESO) in 1994. This was Libya's foreign intelligence agency.

I was appointed to this role because of my experience in matters of foreign affairs having been Deputy Foreign Minister for the previous two years and before that as head of al-matabah, a government funded international forum that discussed and taught Gaddafi's ideology.

Members included Nelson Mandela, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Yosweri Museveni and other prominent statesmen.

My appointment reflected Libya's new foreign policy to make a break with the past and my wide experience had placed me in a good position to begin rebuilding fractured international relations.

As a result I was responsible for a number of key negotiations and initiatives that improved international relations and led to the lifting of UN Security Council and US sanctions which had been damaging to the Libyan people, including:

- Close liaison with international agencies in relation to counter-terrorism matters including al-Qaeda; Libya was the first country in the world to request an international arrest warrant for Osama Bin Laden through Interpol;

 - Negotiating an agreement in 2002 with the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing;

 - The abandonment of Libya's Weapons of Mass Destruction programme in 2003;

 - Securing the release of two Austrian citizens held hostage by al Qaida's North African wing in 2008;

 - The expulsion of Abu Nidal in 1998, a murderer and terrorist Gaddafi had allowed to live in Libya since 1986.

I left my role as head of ESO in 2009 and was appointed Foreign Minister. When Gaddafi turned his guns on his own people on 17 February this year, I was appalled. But because of the nature of Gaddafi's rule I was unable to do anything and so my position became untenable.

In March at considerable risk to myself and my family I made the difficult decision to defect to the UK to both encourage others to follow suit and to help bring Gaddafi's regime to an end.

Since my defection I have co-operated with anti-Gaddafi forces in providing intelligence and information.

At no stage prior to the programme being shown was I approached by the BBC. When the reporter confronted me I was taken by surprise and had no idea who he was.

Far from being 'tracked down' in Doha by the BBC and 'on the run', I have made no secret of my whereabouts in Qatar since I left the UK in April earlier this year.

Contrary to assertions made by the BBC, I am not a wealthy man and I am currently being supported by friends.

These untrue and vengeful allegations, which have been irresponsibly delivered by the BBC, come at a critical time when Libya is starting the difficult process of post-conflict resolution and are much to be regretted.

Following the liberation of Libya, I congratulate the Libyan people for their courage and pray for those who are wounded.

May Allah have mercy on the martyrs who have freed our beloved country.

While I have no intention of seeking a political role I will help in any way I can to rebuild a unified Libya.

In doing so, we must all work together and not allow ourselves to be distracted by political infighting.

May I express heartfelt thanks to the Arab World, in particular to the government of Qatar, and to the UK and France and other coalition countries for their support in securing the liberation of Libya.

What do you think? Please Sign in or Join to leave a comment. Check-out our House Rules so that we can all make this a better experience for everyone.