AUTHORITIES IN Tripoli have discovered the body of a top Libyan regime official suspected of a role in the 1984 shooting of a British policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in London, a senior official said today.
The body of Abdel Kader Baghdadi, former head of Muammar Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Guards, was found along with several other corpses in a government building Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood, said Usama el-Abed, deputy chief of Tripoli’s new city council.
Baghdadi’s identity was confirmed today by relatives who viewed the body, el-Abed said.
Baghdadi was shot in the head, possibly in an internal feud, El-Abed said, adding that the circumstances of the death are still not entirely clear. “We think this was done a week or 10 days ago,” el-Abed said. “Only today could we confirm this.”
He said Baghdadi was accused of a role in the shooting, but did not explain further.
Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, 25, was killed when officials inside the Libyan Embassy in London opened fire on a demonstration. The Libyans inside the embassy were eventually allowed to leave Britain and no one has ever been charged.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported that a British independent prosecutor said in April 2007 that there was enough evidence to charge Baghdadi and another man with conspiracy to cause Fletcher’s death. The prosecutor also named the man suspected of firing the fatal shot, but said there was not enough evidence to charge him with murder.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service posted the Daily Telegraph report on its blog last week and said that the investigation into Fletcher’s death was ongoing.
The British government said today that police are hoping to interview a number of people in Libya over the case — both potential witnesses and suspects.
“There are some outstanding issues that we have with Libya and discussions will take place when it’s appropriate,” a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said, on condition of anonymity in line with policy. She confirmed that police hope to travel to Libya to carry out interviews.
Britain broke off diplomatic relations with Libya for 15 years after the shooting. The two countries restored diplomatic relations in 1999 after Libya accepted responsibility for Fletcher’s shooting, apologized and agreed to pay her family compensation.
Gaddafi said two years ago that he regretted the killing of Fletcher but did not know who was responsible.