Libya is paying for legal defense of al Qaeda suspect al-Liby: filings

NEW YORK Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:18pm EDT

A courtroom sketch shows Nazih al-Ragye known by the alias Abu Anas al-Liby as he appears in Manhattan Federal Court for an arraignment in New York, October 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

A courtroom sketch shows Nazih al-Ragye known by the alias Abu Anas al-Liby as he appears in Manhattan Federal Court for an arraignment in New York, October 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jane Rosenberg

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Libyan government is paying to defend alleged senior al Qaeda figure Anas al-Liby against U.S. terrorism charges, according to court filings unsealed on Monday.

Al-Liby, whose real name is Nazih al-Ragye, was seized by U.S. forces in October in Libya and brought to the United States to face criminal charges in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Libyan officials denounced the military operation as an unauthorized mission within its borders.

No one could be immediately reached for comment on Monday at the Libyan embassy in Washington.

During a court hearing last week, Al-Liby’s lawyer, Bernard Kleinman, told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that a foreign government was paying his fees but declined to identify the country. Kaplan has expressed concern that the arrangement could create a conflict of interest for Kleinman.

The name of the government was initially kept under seal at Kleinman’s request, but Kaplan released the information on Monday after The New York Times requested that it be made public. In his order, Kaplan noted that Kleinman no longer opposed revealing the government involved.

Kaplan also released a note from Kleinman listing the individuals associated with the Libya government with whom he has been in contact about payment.

The list included Adel el Babaa, Dhafra Fawazzi, Erin Petrey and a man named Faisal whose last name Kleinman did not recall.

Petrey is the former special assistant to the Libyan ambassador to the United States and she left that post in June, according to her online LinkedIn profile. Reuters could not immediately determine the positions of the other people on the list.

The individuals would prefer to remain anonymous, according to Kleinman, but Kaplan said the public interest in the case outweighed their desire.

Kleinman was not immediately available for comment on Monday.

The judge has scheduled a hearing next month to consider whether the payment arrangement poses a potential conflict for Kleinman, who Kaplan said might divide his loyalties between his client and his employer. At last week’s hearing, Kleinman said he did not consult with the Libyan government regarding his defensive strategy.

Al-Liby has pleaded not guilty to involvement in the bombings, which killed 224 people. He is scheduled to go on trial in November alongside two co-defendants, Egyptian Adel Bary and Saudi Khalid al-Fawwaz.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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