BBC: Gaddafi-era minister orchestrated shooting of PC Fletcher in 1984

BBC has reported that a Libyan man, said to be close to Muammar Gaddafi, was “instrumental” in orchestrating the shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher – who was killed outside the Libyan Embassy on 17 April 1984 during a protest by anti-Gaddafi activists – a court has heard.

The BBC added that a civil case had been brought by her former friend and colleague John Murray against Salah Ibrahim Mabrouk.

It added that the court heard the shooting plan came from “way up the hierarchy” in Libya, saying that Mabrouk was one of the key figures in a “revolutionary committee” that had taken over the Libyan Embassy on Gaddafi’s orders just before the shooting, leading it to be renamed the Libyan People’s Bureau, the court was told.

The BBC said the court heard evidence that the shooting was the result of a clear plan.

“Not only was there a plan but that plan went way, way up the hierarchy,” Phillippa Kaufmann QC, acting for John Murray, told the court, reiterating that it was known in Tripoli in Libya that something was going to go down the very next day – there was going to be some form of violence.

“Mabrouk had told a meeting that he had spoken directly to Gaddafi who had told him to use the facilities, the guns, the weapons and the power of the embassy to target anti-Gaddafi activists, according to a witness statement provided by an individual who had infiltrated pro-Gaddafi students. He was said to be very close to Gaddafi and witness statements said Mabrouk was one of only a small group of people who had authority to organize such a shooting.” The evidence to the court says, according to the BBC.

Mabrouk was identified as having asked for a Libyan solider to be brought to the embassy on the morning of the shooting to show others “how to put together and dismantle a gun,” according to a statement from an anonymous Libyan witness, the BBC said, adding that Mabrouk is not alleged to have fired the actual shots.

“The court heard one of two possible gunmen may have left the embassy from a garage before fleeing to Morocco. But Mabrouk was carrying some of that man’s documents, which he said had come into his possession because he had picked up his jacket by accident that morning. The court was told Mabrouk was “plainly helping” this individual. This gunman was said to have died in 2011.” The BBC added.

It indicated that Mabrouk was also alleged to have told pro-Gaddafi counter-protesters where to stand so they would not get shot that morning, indicating he knew not just that a shooting would take place but the direction of fire, explaining that the evidence about Mabrouk came largely in the form of written statements previously collected from Libyans.

The court also heard evidence that a video had been made from inside the building to show Gaddafi the shooting. This video has never surfaced.

Mabrouk has been barred from re-entering the UK and he is not defending the case but in an email to Mr Murray’s lawyers he denied any involvement. He was deported after the shooting but then returned to live in the UK. In 2015, he was arrested in connection with the killing but in 2017 the case was dropped because crucial evidence could not be used on grounds of national security. That led to the civil case brought by Murray. A judgement is expected next week.


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