Libyan Militia Pledges to Keep Gadhafi Son in Zintan Until Trial Arranged

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 3:55 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A Libyan militia that captured the fugitive son of the country's late dictator says it will continue to detain Seif al-Islam Gadhafi in the western town of Zintan until his trial arrangements can be worked out.

Zintan council members said late Sunday they will ensure Seif al-Islam's safety while Libya's Tripoli-based transitional government discusses his fate with the representatives of the International Criminal Court. Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told the Associated Press that the government has no objection to keeping Seif al-Islam in Zintan until a trial can be organized.

Zintan militia members posted a video of Seif al-Islam on YouTube Sunday. In it, the heavily-bearded and brown-robed detainee says he is receiving medical treatment in the town for minor injuries sustained in a recent NATO air strike. He also refers to his captors as “brothers and family.”

Zintan fighters caught Seif al-Islam Saturday in Libya's southern desert as he tried to flee the country with several associates. They later flew him to their hometown.

Libyan officials say they want to put Seif al-Islam on trial in Libya for playing a key role in his father's violent suppression of a pro-democracy uprising earlier this year. But, the ICC already has charged Seif al-Islam with crimes against humanity in connection with the crackdown and says he should stand trial at its headquarters in the Dutch city of The Hague.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said Sunday Libyan authorities must present the court with a formal request to try Seif al-Islam inside Libya and demonstrate that such a trial would be fair.

Libya lacks an established judicial system because the elder Gadhafi kept state institutions weak to cement his 42-year rule, which ended when transitional forces drove him from Tripoli in August. The fighters killed Gadhafi in October in his hometown of Sirte.

In another development Sunday, Libyan authorities announced the capture of former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi, another Moammar Gadhafi aide wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity. They said militiamen detained Senoussi at his sister's home in the country's southern desert region.