The New York Times reports that the U.S. Navy is currently holding a suspected longtime member of al-Qaeda onboard one of its ships in the Mediterranean Sea without having been read his rights or allowed a lawyer. Abu Anas al-Libi was captured by American commandos in Libya over the weekend and is currently being interrogated in military custody before being sent to New York for prosecution.
Among al-Libi's alleged crimes:
Abu Anas, 49, who was born Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, was indicted in Manhattan in 2000 on charges of conspiring with Bin Laden in plots to attack United States forces in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia, as well as in the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people.
He has been described as a Qaeda computer expert and helped to conduct surveillance of the embassy in Nairobi, according to evidence in trials stemming from the bombings. In investigating the attacks, the authorities recovered a Qaeda terrorism manual in Abu Anas’s residence in Manchester, England.
The suspect is currently being held aboard the U.S.S. San Antonio, and has not been read his rights or been provided a lawyer. Officials speaking to the Times compared the detainment to the 2011 capture of Ahmed Warsame, a member of al-Shabab, which recently carried out a brutal attack on a Nairobi mall. Warsame was held on a ship and interrogated for two months before being advised of his rights. He later pleaded guilty and cooperated with U.S. intelligence. A source told the Times that, "Warsame is the model for this guy."
CNN has a statement from al-Libi's wife, who claims that he left the organization in 1996, pirior to the embassy attacks in 1998. She told reporters that he "participated in the jihad in Afghanistan. .... He was a member of al-Qaeda and he was personal security for (Osama) bin Laden -- that's true -- but he did not take part in any operation." The suspected terrorist had spent time in Britain and throughout the Middle East, but returned to Libya in 2011 to help overthrow Muammar Qaddafi.
[Pictured: al-Libi and the ship where he is being held, the U.S.S. San Antonio]