Prosecutor Says Libyan Agent Scouted American Targets
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A prosecutor’s indictment says a Libyan intelligence officer visited Turkey in January to scout American targets for terrorist attacks.
Security Court prosecutor Ulku Coskun prepared the indictment, a copy of which was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, for the trial of five Libyans accused of planning a grenade attack on a U.S. military officers’ club in Ankara.
Two of the Libyans were captured near the club before the attack could be carried out on the evening of April 18, three days after the U.S. air raids on Libya. They were carrying a bag containing six hand grenades.
The indictment said the club was chosen because it would be crowded. About 100 people were attending a wedding party that Friday night, and the prosecutor has said the explosion of just one grenade could have killed or wounded half of them.
Coskun’s indictment said the two Libyans confessed to investigators and revealed details of the plan.
It said Capt. Abdullah Mansur of Libyan intelligence visited Istanbul for about 15 days with one of the arrested Libyans ″to determine locations of U.S installations″ and ″targets.″
Ali Ecefli Ramadan and Recep Muhtar Rohoma Tarhuni, the two captured by police, are being held for trial but the other three defendants left Turkey soon after the arrests. The indictment said Ramadan was the man who accompanied Mansur in January.
The indictment listed the other defendants as Muhammed Ahaban Hassan, a Libyan Embassy administrative employee; Abdulhadid Hadi Sadun, an embassy security guard, and Mansur Umran, manager of the Libyan Arab Airlines office in Istanbul.
The semi-official Anatolia News Agency quoted Prime Minister Turgut Ozal as telling Turkish journalists, ″I don’t think this will affect our relations with Libya negatively.″
He added that his government will never permit terrorist activities, according to the Anatolia report.
Turkey gets along well with Col. Moammar Khadafy’s regime and about 30,000 Turks work on construction projects in the North African country.
Coskun said the Security Court, which handles terrorism cases, issued arrest warrants Sunday for the three Libyans who left Turkey. A judge withdrew the warrant for Sadun the next day on grounds of insufficient evidence but he remains a defendant, the prosecutor said.
The trial is expected to start in about two weeks.
All five Libyans are charged with conspiracy to kill and bringing weapons into the country illegally. Each could receive 12 to 20 years in prison.
The indictment says Ali M. al-Zayyani, the Libyan consul in Istanbul, also knew of the plan to attack the officers’ club. According to the diplomatic list, he is the second-ranking Libyan diplomat in Turkey after Ambassador Muhammed Abdulmalik.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry announcement Monday said there was no evidence linking Abdulmalik to the aborted attack.
Umran, the airline office manager, took Ramadan and Tarhuni to meet the consul and told him, ″These are the people who will go to Ankara for action,″ the indictment said.
It said el-Zayyani advised the two men to travel to Ankara by land in order to avoid airport security checks.
According to the indictment, Ramadan and Tarhuni arrived in Ankara on April 16 and got in touch with Hassan and Sadun, the embassy employees. It said Hassan told them where the officers’ club was located and gave them the grenades April 18, the day of the planned attack.
The United States has two dozen military installations in this NATO nation, two of them listening posts that follow Soviet military activity and nuclear tests. About 10,000 U.S. military personnel and their dependents are stationed in Turkey.