Libyan commander responds to federal lawsuits in Virginia

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A Libyan navy commander who spent a long time residing in Virginia is now responding to 2 federal lawsuits accusing him of atrocities in his navy campaigns.

Khalifa Hifter leads the self-styled Libyan Nationwide Military. As soon as a lieutenant to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Hifter defected to the U.S. in the course of the 1980s and spent a few years residing in northern Virginia. He’s extensively believed to have labored with the CIA throughout his time in exile.

Hifter returned to Libya in 2011 after Gadhafi’s fall, and Hifter’s military gained management of the japanese a part of that north African nation. Final 12 months he launched a marketing campaign to take Tripoli, its capital. However his military suffered important setbacks in current months after the United-Nations-backed authorities opposing Hifter obtained navy assist from Turkey. Hifter has obtained Russian and Egyptian backing.

Hifter initially failed to answer the 2 lawsuits in federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, accusing his military of indiscriminate killing of civilians and concentrating on political enemies. However in a July 31 letter, New York-based legal professional Duncan Levin advised the choose overseeing the lawsuits that Hifter needs to struggle the fits.

“Gen. Hifter is now conscious of those two instances,” Levin wrote. “If permitted by this Courtroom, Gen. Hifter due to this fact intends to reply to the complaints.”

Levin didn’t instantly reply tho a cellphone name in search of remark Monday.

Esam Omeish, president of the Libyan American Alliance, which has been supportive of the lawsuits in opposition to Hifter, stated in a press release that “(a)fter the current defeats of Hifter in his conflict in Libya, Hifter realized that he wants an exit technique and presumably a spot to flee to, and that explains why he retained a legislation agency now after months of not answering the fees leveled in opposition to him.”

In every of the lawsuits filed in opposition to Hifter, the plaintiffs sought default judgment after Hifter initially failed to reply. In one of many instances, a federal Justice of the Peace has advisable dismissing the lawsuit. Within the different one, although, the Justice of the Peace has advisable coming into default judgment.

The lawsuits allege that Hifter and his household bought 17 properties in Virginia between 2014 and 2017, paying $eight million in money.

Faisal Gill, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in one of many instances, stated “Hifter lastly obtained the message that we’re severe about pursuing justice for the victims of his egregious and violent actions. Killing harmless civilians won’t go unpunished.”

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