28 November 2012

Libya: Mansour Al-Kikhia Family Calls for Answers

Tripoli — The identification of the missing minister's corpse ended one mystery and awakened another.

After 19 years of mystery, the disappearance of former Libyan diplomat Mansour al-Kikhia was solved on November 15th.

When three bodies were found buried at the Libyan intelligence headquarters in central Tripoli last April, it was initially thought that the corpses were those of missing Lebanese imam Moussa al-Sadr and his two companions.

The Iranian-born cleric, an aide and a journalist vanished in 1978 during a visit to Tripoli upon an official invitation from Moamer Kadhafi. While this mystery remains unsolved, the discovery of al-Kikhia's remains closes the decades-old case about his disappearance.

Mansour al-Kikhia was Libya's foreign minister from 1973 to 1975, and ambassador to the UN from 1977 to 1980.

His nephew Rashid told Magharebia that he disappeared in 1993, during a trip to Egypt for an Arab Human Rights conference.

Rashid said that General National Congress head Mohamed Magarief had reached out to the family following the discovery of the bodies.

Investigations were conducted with former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, where he confirmed the identity of the body. He said that they had been preserving the remains in a fridge, until the fall of the regime, when it was buried.

DNA was taken from three family members, including two of his children. The results showed the likelihood of a match was 99.9%.

Family members positively identified the body. Al-Kikhia died with his finger raised as if he was reciting the shahada.

"It was said that my uncle Mansour was imprisoned for four years and was killed between 1996 and 1997," Rashid said.

"I thought my uncle died of natural causes, but then there was damage to his chest" he added. "He might have died of torture."

Family members met a guard responsible for al-Kikhia. He said the prisoner had resembled al-Sadr. Others prison guards also thought that he was the cleric from Lebanon.

A formal funeral will be held in Tripoli on December 2nd. The body will be transported to Benghazi for a public funeral on the 3rd. The burial will take place at the al-Hawari graveyard.

Rashid said that the family will start filing lawsuits from Egypt to find out what really happened to al-Kikhia.

"We'll take the investigations that were conducted with Abdullah al-Senussi and hire lawyers to move forward so that no more Libyans may be kidnapped. His case will be for all to preserve dignity and blood."

Rashid al-Kikhia thanked all committees involved in the investigation of his uncle's fate, and he especially thanked current Libyan intelligence chief Salem al-Hasi.

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