Moussa Koussa Will Not Be Offered Immunity, Says William Hague

Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign minister who defected to the UK on Wednesday, will not be offered immunity from British or international justice, William Hague has said. The foreign secretary has seized on the defection to urge others to abandon Muammar Gaddafi's "crumbling" regime in favour of a "better future" for Libya.

Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign minister who defected to the UK on Wednesday, will not be offered immunity from British or international justice, William Hague has said.

The foreign secretary has seized on the defection to urge others to abandon Muammar Gaddafi's "crumbling" regime in favour of a "better future" for Libya.

He also renewed his call to Gaddafi to step down, saying the loss of one of his closest allies, along with other defections to the opposition, showed the Libyan leader's regime was "fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within".

"Gaddafi must be asking himself who will be the next to abandon him," Hague said. "We reiterate our call to Gaddafi to go."

The Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, will not be offered immunity from prosecution.

Hague gave further details about Koussa at the launch of the Foreign Office report on human rights in London, saying he had travelled to Britain "under his own free will" and was not being offered immunity.

Koussa fled to the UK on Wednesday on a specially arranged flight from Tunisia, organised by the British intelligence services. He said he was "no longer willing" to represent Gaddafi's regime.

His defection provides Britain with a source of invaluable intelligence in terms of understanding the situation within the Libyan leader's inner circle.

But his arrival in the UK has also led to expectations that he will be questioned about his possible involvement in, or knowledge of, atrocities including the Lockerbie bombing and the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.

Koussa was expelled from the UK in 1980 and was the head of Libyan foreign intelligence for 15 years, including the period of the Lockerbie bombing, which happened in 1988. He has always denied that Libya was involved in the bombing.

Hague said Koussa was talking voluntarily to British officials, including staff at Britain's Tripoli embassy, now based in London, and that further details would be released in due course.

Mr Koussa flew from Tunisia, where he had been on a diplomatic mission, to Farnborough airport

Hague gave further details about Koussa at the launch of the Foreign Office report on human rights in London, saying he had travelled to Britain "under his own free will" and was not being offered immunity.

The foreign secretary added that Koussa had been his channel of communications to the regime in recent weeks, and he had spoken to him several times by phone.

Hague seized on the defection to urge others to follow suit by abandoning a Libyan regime that had lost "all legitimacy".

"I renew our calls for those remaining around him [Gaddafi] to abandon him and to unite in support of a better future for their country," he said.

Mr Koussa flew from Tunisia, where he had been on a diplomatic mission, to Farnborough airport

Hague said Britain and its allies had intervened in Libya to "save lives" and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and give the Libyan people a chance to determine their own future. He added: "It is action that is legal, necessary and right."

He said the Libyan people had suffered "serious human rights abuses for decades" and were now facing regime forces that had used live rounds, indiscriminate shelling and air strikes against civilians.

Torture, extra-judicial executions and illegal arrests and detention had also been used, he said, and there was a shortage of food and basic medical supplies.

Guardian