Gaddafi’s son Seif ‘arrested’ after three months on run

0
71

Murdered Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi’s fugitive son and one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam has been arrested in southern Libya, a senior National Transitional Council official said Saturday. Seif al-Islam, 39, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was “arrested in southern Libya” by former rebel forces, NTC justice minister Mohammed al-Allagui told AFP, declining to give any details. As the last top figure of the Gaddafi family to have evaded capture or not to have escaped abroad, news of his arrest was greeted in Tripoli by gunmen firing into the air in celebration and the honking of car horns.
It came a day before the NTC was expected to name a new government and three months after Seif al-Islam was last seen in public. The operations chief of the victorious rebels in Zintan, one of their strongholds during the eight-month conflict, Bashir Taib, told a news conference that his fighters had arrested Seif along with three aides in the Ubari region of southern Libya, an escape route to Algeria and Niger. Gaddafi’s son was being taken to Zintan, 170 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Tripoli, he said, adding that it was up to the NTC to decide on whether he would be transferred to the ICC. A Libyan television channel, Al-Ahrar, broadcast a picture of Seif saying it was the first since his capture.
It showed him heavily bearded and leaning on the end of a bed, with three fingers of his right hand bandaged and a blanket on his legs. The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Seif al-Islam, 39, as well as his father and Abdullah al-Senussi, the late dictator’s intelligence chief, on charges of crimes against humanity in crushing anti-regime protests. Taib said he had no information on Senussi’s current whereabouts, but the Tripoli council of former rebel fighters said he had been sighted in Al-Girah region, also southern Libya. Amnesty International swiftly called for Seif to be handed over to the ICC.
“If reports are correct … he must be handed over to the ICC, and his safety and rights must be guaranteed,” the London-based human rights watchdog said, referring to the killing of his father after having been captured alive.
“After what happened after the capture of Moamer Gaddafi … we hold the NTC responsible for preventing similar harm coming to Seif al-Islam … so that he can face justice for his alleged crimes in a fair trial with no death penalty.” The ICC itself, after having been caught out by a false earlier report of Seif’s arrest, said on Saturday it was seeking confirmation. “The first thing is to confirm his capture,” court spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah told AFP. “What we are going to do is wait for official confirmation from the authorities that a suspect wanted by the ICC has been arrested.”