Libyan deported after Fletcher murder seeking political asylum in Britain

Friday 29th June 2012

A Libyan official who was deported after the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher is seeking political asylum in Britain

Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was watching demonstrators outside the Libyan embassy in London on the morning Pc Fletcher was shot in 1984

At the time he was a high-ranking member of Muammar Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees, known for their brutality in crushing opposition

Mabrouk, who is said to have been close to Gaddafi, was sent back to Libya in 1984 because his presence in Britain “was not conducive to the public good”

He is not said to be a suspect in the killing which was done by a gunman inside the Libyan embassy

Mabrouk was allowed to return to Britain as part of an attempt to improve relations with Gaddafi and bring the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to trial

It has emerged that Mabrouk is now wanted by Libya’s transitional government where he is number 107 on its list of individuals suspected of misusing state funds

Mabrouk left Libya a few days before the fall of Tripoli, carrying around $200m (£130m) on a mission to the Balkan states to hire mercenaries for Gaddafi, according to Libyan investigators

Mabrouk denies the charge, saying he visited Croatia and Serbia on a peace mission and claiming he has never received state funds, even as dean of Tripoli’s Academy of Higher Education

“I challenge them if I even have $20,000 let alone the $200m they are talking about,” he told Radio 4’s File on 4 in a programme to be broadcast next Tuesday

“Let them produce proof. They haven’t caught me withdrawing cash from a bank or in an airport with cash on me”

The Libyan authorities say they would like help from the British police in finding evidence of Mabrouk’s financial affairs and that any property he owns in Britain should be frozen and returned to the state

The Daily Telegraph revealed in 2001 that Mabrouk had been allowed to return to Britain to attend a three-day seminar at Salford University in Manchester, and for a two-day seminar on Anglo-Libyan relations at the Chatham House think-tank

He is currently living in the south of England with his wife and says he has been coming to Britain since 2000 when he began studying for a doctorate

The former Gaddafi loyalist is understood to have returned to Libya after completing his studies, but left shortly before Col Gaddafi was killed by rebel militia in October 2011

He says he is now applying for political asylum and has applied for a visa at the British embassy in the normal way

He says he has been in contact with the Metropolitan Police, although he cannot remember the last time they interviewed him

Two weeks ago a Metropolitan Police team travelled to Tripoli to discuss PC Fletcher’s murder investigation with Libyan officials