A Libyan man accused of helping plan al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Africa in the late 1990s has died of liver cancer in New York only days before his trial was due to begin.
Abu Anas al-Libi and a co-defendant had pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges stemming from the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that killed 224 people and injured 5,000.
US legal authorities say the 50-year-old died in hospital after being taken from a detention centre.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan that Liby suffered “sudden complications arising out of his long-standing medical problems” and died on January 2. Prosecutors said Liby’s lawyer was with him throughout the day and an imam was present at the hospital.
Al-Libi’s son accused the US authorities of sending his father back to prison prematurely after an operation when his condition was not stable.
“We hold the US legally responsible for the death of my father,” he said.
In what the Libyan government criticised as an unauthorised incursion, Al-Libi was seized by US commandos in Tripoli in 2013 and taken to an American navy ship before eventually being flown to the States.
One of the FBI’s most wanted men, he had allegedly carried out surveillance missions of the US embassy in Nairobi over several years.