Entries in Saif al-Islam Gadhafi (4)


Gadhafi's Son: Get Me a Lawyer

IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) –- Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son and heir apparent to the late Libyan dictator, told a human rights group earlier this week that he was being well treated by the anti-Gadhafi forces who captured him after the fall of his father's regime.

Human Rights Watch official Fred Abrahams said Wednesday that Saif, whom he visited in Zintan, Libya, "had no complaints about the physical conditions of his detention," but wanted to see a lawyer. The 39-year-old Saif, Gadhafi's second oldest son, has been charged with war crimes by the U.N.'s International Criminal Court, and the new Libyan government also wants to conduct its own prosecution.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi was captured in November. His father had already been killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte. Saif had a badly injured hand at the time of his capture, which he attributed to a NATO airstrike. According to HRW's Abrahams, he said he was receiving adequate medical care for his hand from his captors, with an operation three weeks ago. Earlier reports said that Saif's hand had turned gangrenous and that several fingers would require amputation.

Saif told HRW that an earlier attempt to get medical care for his injured hand is what led to his capture by rebels in Libya's western mountains.

Three of Moammar Gadhafi's children, sons Motassim, Saif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed during the Libyan uprising. Daughter Aisha escaped to Algeria, and son Saadi is now in Niger under government protection. Through his attorney, Saadi has denied reports that he sought to flee to a Mexican beach resort.

Libya's chief prosecutor, Abdelaziz al-Hasadi, told HRW that he was investigating Saif al-Islam for alleged pre-war corruption and for alleged crimes committed during the rebel uprising. The ICC, which is based in the Netherlands, has already charged Saif with war crimes, and Libya will have to show that it is able to treat Saif fairly in order for the international body to allow Libya to prosecute Saif for war crimes.

HRW urged the Libyan government to grant Gadhafi access to a lawyer, and Hasadi said Saif would be allowed to see an attorney as soon as he is moved to secure detention in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

"The world is watching how Libya handles this case, and Libya should prove that it will grant Gadhafi all the rights that were too often denied in the past," said Abrahams.

A lawyer for the Gadhafi family, Nick Kaufman, had said prior to the HRW visit that he had tried to contact Saif via the International Criminal Court, but that the ICC had referred him to the Red Cross and the NTC, the transitional government now ruling Libya. Kaufman said that he had "no point of contact" within the NTC, and that the Red Cross refused to help him. Kaufman told ABC News that Saif was being held "incommunicado."

The Zintan-based militia that captured Saif says it has not handed him over to the new Libyan government because of security concerns. Some observers, however, believe the militia is holding Saif as a bargaining chip as the new regime divvies up power. Representatives of the four major rebel groups that led the uprising against Gaddafi convened in Tripoli on Tuesday to nominate the head of the future Libyan army with the Benghazi, Tripoli, Misrata and Zintan brigades vying for the top spot. A few days after Saif's capture, a commander from the Zintan brigade was appointed Defense Minister in the interim Libyan government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


International Court Approves of Trial for Gadhafi's Son in Libya

IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images(THE HAGUE, Netherlands) -- The son of the late Col. Moammar Gadhafi will have his day in court, one way or the other.

As it appears more likely that Libya will not turn over Saif al-Islam Gadhafi to the international court in The Hague, the top prosecutor of the International Criminal Court suggested Tuesday that it would be all right with him if Gadhafi goes on trial in his own homeland.

Louis Moreno-Ocampo said he would only ask that the international court has some presence at any trial, which might also include the prosecution of former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi.  Both men were taken into custody last weekend after being on the run since late August.

Last June, the international court issued warrants for the arrest of Col. Gadhafi, his son and the foreign minister on charges of cracking down on civilians and dissidents when a pro-democracy uprising got underway last February.

While the now-ruling National Transitional Council said initially it would turn over the men to the international court, the new leaders reversed their decision due to public pressure, as most want to see the younger Gadhafi and Senussi go on trial in Libya for a variety of charges including corruption, abuse of state funds, torture and killings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya Announces Capture of Gadhafi's Son Saif al-Islam

IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI) -- Libyans finally have Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam -- the only "Wanted" member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large.

Saif was captured as he was trying to flee the country with two aides.

A prosecutor from the International Criminal Court says he will travel to Libya next week for talks on where and when Saif will be put on trial for crimes against humanity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fugitive Gadhafi Son in Contact With ICC, Prosecutor Says

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Officials with the International Criminal Court are in contact, through intermediaries, with the fugitive son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi about a possible surrender, the court's prosecutor said Friday.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on CNN the organization had conducted "informal conversations... exploring the possibility" that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi could willingly appear before the court.

Moreno-Ocampo said those discussions had been conducted with "intermediaries" for the 39-year-old, but said he was unaware of Saif's actual location. Officials at Libya's rebel National Transitional Council government previously told reporters Saif wanted to turn himself in, but just hours later other officials said he had made his way to Niger, a friendly nation that previously accepted one of Saif's brothers.

A source close to the Gadhafi sons told ABC News that not only does no one know for sure where Saif is, but it is unclear if he would actually consider turning himself in rather than attempting to escape Libya. Saif has repeatedly sworn to stay and fight in Libya. Just a month after the popular uprising began and NATO agreed to launch missions against the regime, he told ABC News in an exclusive interview, "We are in our country with our people… and we are not afraid."

Saif, who has managed to elude rebel forces for months even after his notorious father and brother were caught and killed last week, is wanted by the courts for his alleged role in the violent repression of protesters at the start of Libya's popular uprising. The ICC inferred by his proximity to Moammar and position as "de facto" prime minister of Libya that Saif "conceived and orchestrated a plan to deter and quell, by all means [including lethal action], the civilian demonstrations against Gadhafi's regime" amounting to crimes against humanity, according to a warrant for Saif's arrest issued in June.

In the first days of the uprising, Saif warned protesters on national television that if the people did not accept offers of reform, there would be "rivers of blood" and even after the tide of war turned against his family, Saif continued to threaten violent revenge.

But before the alleged murders and ominous warnings, Saif was seen by the Libyan youth in a completely different light: as the great "hope" for the north African nation.

"Young Libyans have repeated over the last few weeks that Saif al-Islam is the 'hope' of 'Libya al-Ghad' (Libya of tomorrow)," a U.S. official said in February 2010 in a classified State Department cable posted on the website WikiLeaks, "with men in their twenties saying that they aspire to be like Saif and think he is the right person to run the country."

In the years previous, Saif publicly spoke out against many of his father's own policies to urge Libya towards a more democratic future. In a 2008 address to the Libyan Youth Forum, he pushed for extreme reform, including establishing a new structure of government, a constitution and new legal system that provided greater protection for human rights and press freedoms.

As far back as 2002, Saif said democracy was "policy number one for us," according to a report by The Guardian.

"First thing democracy, second thing democracy, third thing democracy," he said.

"Saif seems to be making progress in casting himself as a humanitarian, philanthropist, and reformer," the 2010 U.S. cable says. "If Saif al-Islam does intend to accept an official role in the near future, domestic audiences -- particularly among Libya's swelling ranks of young adults -- may welcome him as Libya's knight in shining armor."

The ICC prosecutor's office did not immediately return requests for comment on this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio