Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gaddafi son Seif al-Islam not arrested by rebels: AFP

Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam makes the victory sign as he appears at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AP
TRIPOLI (AFP) - Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has not been arrested by rebels despite earlier reports and is still in Tripoli, an AFP journalist said on Tuesday.
Several journalists, including an AFP correspondent, saw Saif al-Islam in Muammar Gaddafi's residential complex in the capital. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had earlier said the 39-year-old was arrested and in detention.

'I am here to refute the lies,' Gaddafi's son said, referring to reports of his arrest.
Three journalists, including from AFP, were taken by car to Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound by representatives of the regime. Saif al-Islam arrived in a vehicle in front of the building complex, which was bombed by the Americans in 1986. He was greeted by several dozen supporters waving his portrait and that of his father, as well as Libyan flags.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo had said Saif al-Islam was arrested and in detention, calling for his swift transfer.
'We hope he can soon be in The Hague' to face judgement, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said as he indicated he was planning to contact the 'Libyan transitional government' later in the day.
An ICC spokesman said on Monday that the court is seeking Saif al-Islam's transfer to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity.
'The court as a whole is involved,' Fadi El-Abdallah told AFP, answering 'yes' when asked if that meant discussions were underway with the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) over Saif al-Islam's transfer.
Saif al-Islam is accused together with his father with orchestrating a plan to put down the Libyan revolt by 'any means necessary' since it was sparked in mid-February.
This included the murder of hundreds of pro-freedom Libyan protestors and injuring hundreds of others when security forces shot a crowds using live ammunition, as well as the arrest and torture of numerous others.
Before the revolt erupted, Saif al-Islam was increasingly seen as a successor to his father, despite publicly ruling out any dynastic ambitions in the North African country.
Described as the Libyan strongman's de facto prime minister and most influential person within his inner circle, Saif al-Islam is wanted because he 'espoused and executed Muammar Gaddafi's plan which led to the commission of the crimes', a court document stated.
'Relevant to the prosecutor's application, Saif al-Islam exercised control over crucial parts of the state apparatus, including finances and logistics,' said the ICC's decision to grant arrest warrants against Gaddafi, his son and Libyan spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi on June 27.
'There are reasonable grounds to believe that Muammar Gaddafi and Saif al-Islam's orders to any branch of the state apparatus automatically activated the state machinery,' the court document added.

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