Niger extradites Gaddafi son to Libya

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Forces of the Military Council of Tripoli stand guard next to the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli on March 3, 2014 after dozens of protesters stormed the parliament and wounded two of its members. (Photo: AFP - Mahmud Turkia)

Published Thursday, March 6, 2014

Niger has turned over a son of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi to Libyan authorities, Tripoli said Thursday, as a government-allied militia released pictures of him in captivity.

The government said Saadi Gaddafi, who fled across the Sahara desert to Niger during the 2011 uprising that saw rebels capture and kill his father, ending his four-decade dictatorship, was in Libyan custody.

The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, a militia made up of former rebels, released five pictures on Facebook of a disconsolate-looking Saadi in a blue jumpsuit getting his head and beard shaved.

He knelt on the floor as his hair was removed by a man wielding an electric razor.

Libya's government said he would be held in accordance with "international standards regarding the treatment of prisoners."

Saadi Gaddafi was best known as the head of Libya's football federation and a player who paid his way into Italy's top division.

The playboy footballer, born in May 1973, had been off the radar since fleeing across the desert in September 2011.

Interpol had issued a "Red Notice" for him, for "allegedly misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation."

Libya had repeatedly called for Saadi's extradition from Niger, which had granted him asylum since September 2011 on "humanitarian" grounds, saying it had insufficient guarantees Libya's new rulers would give him a fair trial.

Saadi is subject to UN sanctions including a travel ban and assets freeze.

Three of Gaddafi's sons were killed in the 2011 uprising, including Mutassim, who was killed by rebels in Sirte on the same day as his father.

Their bodies were later put on public display in Misrata, 215 kilometers (135 miles) east of Tripoli, before being buried at a secret location in the desert.

Another son, Seif al-Arab, was killed in a NATO air raid in April 2011, just months before his brother Khamis died in combat in August at the height of the revolt.

Several key members of the Gaddafi clan survived, however, including his erstwhile heir apparent Seif al-Islam, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court but detained by a militia at Zintan in western Libya.

Former Libyan Olympic Committee chief Mohammed and Hannibal, who made headlines during scandal-packed European holidays, are believed still to be in Algeria, as is the fallen tyrant's widow Safiya and daughter Aisha.

Around 30 senior regime officials are believed to have entered Niger at the same time as Saadi, but the authorities in Niamey have not said how many remain in the country.

(AFP)

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