Sunday 22 April 2018

Niger extradites Gaddafi's son

Al-Saadi Gaddafi has been extradited from Niger to Libya (AP)
Al-Saadi Gaddafi has been extradited from Niger to Libya (AP)

Libya says Niger has extradited Moammar Gaddafi's son al-Saadi, who fled as his father's regime crumbled in 2011 and was under house arrest in the desert West African nation ever since.

The government says al-Saadi Gaddafi- one of the deposed Libyan leader's eight children - will be treated "in accordance with international law".

A Libyan official says he arrived early today at Tripoli airport and was transferred to a prison in the capital.

Al-Saadi Gaddafi, known for his love of professional football and playboy lifestyle, is wanted by Libyan authorities but not by the International Criminal Court.

His brother, Seif al-Islam, is held by a militia, which refuses to hand him over to the central government for trial.

Shortly after the news broke, photographs circulated on social media showing al-Saadi in a blue prison uniform as Libyan guards shaved his hair and beard.

Al-Saadi's brief career in Italian football ended after a failed drug test. He headed Libya's Football Federation and was also the former head of the country's special forces.

Like most Gaddafi loyalists and ex-regime officials, al-Saadi is wanted for his role in curbing protests against his father's rule and the killing of protesters.

At least three other Gaddafi sons were killed during the uprising while the rest of the children sought asylum in neighbouring Algeria, along with Gaddafi's wife and al-Saadi's mother Safiya. The mother, a sister and two brothers were granted asylum in Oman in 2012 and moved there from Algeria.

Niger had previously refused to comply with Libyan requests for al-Saadi, saying that once he was back home, he might be killed.

There have been tensions between the two African nations and while Libya has criticised the presence of Gaddafi loyalists in Niger, Niger has expressed concern about "the terrorist threat" posed by the lack of security in southern Libya, near its own border.

The elder Gaddafi ruled Libya with an eccentric brutality for nearly 42 years before he was ousted by an uprising in August 2011. He was captured and killed in October, along with his son Muatassim. Killed earlier in the civil war were younger brothers Seif al-Arab and Khamis.

The rule of law is still weak in Libya after decades of Gaddafi's reign. Courts are still paralysed and security remains tenuous as unruly militias proliferate.

The ICC has charged Seif al-Islam with murder and persecution of civilians during the early days of the Libyan uprising. If convicted in that court, he would have faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment because it does not have the death penalty.

Last summer, the international court judges ruled that Libya cannot give Seif al-Islam a fair trial and asked authorities to hand him over to The Hague.

Press Association

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