Dishevelled and smeared in sand, new pictures show moment Gaddafi's playboy son Saif was captured by rebels
- Saif Al Islam, 39, found near southern town of Obar, reportedly 'in good health'
- Libya's Justice Minister says Gaddafi's heir could now face death penalty
- Former playboy 'will be tried in Libya', says minister
- News sparks celebrations across the country
- Will be held in Zintan until new court system is put in place
- Prime Minister David Cameron says capture 'shows we are near the end of the final chapter of the Gaddafi regime'
- Gaddafi's intelligence chief Senussi captured in southern Libya
This is the moment Colonel Gaddafi's heir was captured by rebel forces as he tried to flee the country his family had ruled for four decades.
Looking dishevelled, covered in dust and without his western-style glasses, Saif Al Islam looked a far cry from the urbane diplomat who tried to burnish Libya's reputation abroad.
Pictures of him surrounded by rebels show him looking downcast and desperate to avoid the grisly fate of his father.
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Captured: Saif Al Islam Gaddafi in the moments after he was captured in western Libya yesterday
Scared: Saif looks nervous as he sits surrounded by his rebel captors, and he looks at his injured hand
A minister said today that Saif will be tried in Libya, rather than being handed over to the International Criminal Court.
But the rebels who captured him say they will not hand him over to the Libyan government until it has set up a new court system.
The trial of Saif, who was apprehended yesterday, could prove highly embarrassing for influential British figures – including Prince Andrew and Tony Blair – if he reveals details of the close links he enjoyed with them.
The 39-year-old former playboy and womaniser was captured by rebels from the western mountain town of Zindan while trying to flee across the border into Niger.
The head of Zintan's military
council, Colonel Mohammed al-Khabash, said today that Saif will be held
in Zintan until a court system is established in Libya.
And the nation's information minister
has confirmed that he will be tried in Libya, where he 'committed
crimes against Libyan people'.
Mahmoud Shammam said Libya's National Transitional Council will discuss its decision with the ICC's chief prosecutor when he visits Libya tomorrow.
But although Saif is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity, Mr Shammam said: 'The ICC is just a secondary court, and the people of Libya will not allow Saif Al Islam to be tried outside.'
Deposed: The former heir to Colonel Gaddafi's regime was held at the mercy of a rebel militia
Saif smiles nervously at his captors as he is held captive at Obari airport
Saif was snared in Libya's southern desert with only a handful of supporters by fighters from the mountain town of Zintan
These mobile phone pictures were taken by one of the men guarding the captive Saif
Booty: Saif's western-style glasses and a stack of U.S. dollars which he was carrying when he was captured
Hunted down: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi looks dejected and withdrawn following his capture
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo
said that while national governments have the first right to try their
own citizens for war crimes, his primary goal was to ensure Saif has a
The charity Human Rights Watch has
called for Saif to be promptly turned over to the International Criminal
Court, having expressed its concern about the killings of his father
and brother when they were captured last month.
Saif was pictured yesterday looking haggard and fearful as he cowered in terror after his capture.
LABOUR DONOR 'HELPED SECURE GADDAFI LSE GIFT'
Yet another link between Labour and the Gaddafi regime was revealed today as it emerged that a major party donor helped arrange Saif Al Islam's huge gift to the London School of Economics.
Businessman Imran Khand, who has given Labour more than £50,000, was introduced to Gaddafi by an LSE official and later suggested soliciting a donation from the dictator's son.
Gaddafi's £1.5million donation to LSE came just weeks after the university had awarded him a PhD - though it has been claimed that his doctoral thesis was plagiarised.
An inquiry into LSE's links with the Gaddafi regime, and particularly with Saif Al Islam, is believed to criticise the university's handling of its controversial student, according to the Sunday Times.
Professor David Held, director of LSE's centre for global governance and an informal adviser to Gaddafi, was crucial in soliciting the donation.
The report says that Professor Held introduced Mr Khand to Gaddafi after the businessman had hired him as a consultant, paying him £3,000.
Mr Khand then suggested to Professor Held that he should try to secure a donation from the Libyan heir.
The inquiry, written by former top judge Lord Woolf, is believed to conclude that Professor Held ignored potential conflicts of interest in his dealings with Gaddafi.
The involvement of Labour donor Mr Khand, who made his fortune through software company Pictel Technologies, was previously unknown, and will raise further questions about the Libyan government's connection to top Labour figures.
His old swagger gone, the
British-educated son of Colonel Gaddafi was clearly terrified that he
might encounter the same fate as his father.Saif could yet face the death penalty
for his crimes, but Libyan officials have promised he would, at least,
receive a fair trial.
A mob of angry protesters tried to storm the plane as he was captured, but were beaten back by soldiers under orders to keep their prisoner alive so he could face justice.
A day after Saif's arrest, Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi was captured in the south of the country, according to a government spokesman.
Only three weeks ago Saif had vowed to avenge his father’s death, declaring defiantly: ‘I am alive and free and willing to fight to the end.’
But last night he was facing trial at the hands of the people so long oppressed by the Gaddafi regime.
Thousands of Libyans celebrated in the streets after hearing that the fugitive, who remained loyal to his father’s murderous rule to the end, had been captured without a struggle.
The dictator’s heir was intercepted near the oil town of Obari as he tried to reach the frontier in a 4x4 vehicle, accompanied by three bodyguards.
Desert fighters acting on a tip-off fired into the air and ground to bring the car to a halt.
As they checked the identity of those inside, Saif told them his name was Abdelsalam – which means ‘servant of peace’ – but he was immediately recognised and taken away by the fighters.
One of those involved in the capture, Ahmed Ammar, said: ‘At the beginning he was very scared. He thought we would kill him.’
Saif’s captors said they found only a few thousand dollars and a cache of rifles in the seized vehicles.
is thought to have been hiding in the southern desert since fleeing the
tribal bastion of Bani Walid, near the capital, Tripoli, last month.
After his capture, he was photographed lying on a bed in a prison cell, his fingers wrapped in bandages and his legs covered with a blanket. Officials said the injury had been sustained in a Nato air raid a month ago.
There was jubilation across the
country as car horns and flag-waving marked the seizure of Saif, who had
close connections with some of the most powerful figures in Britain,
including Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson.
The London School of Economics graduate, who threw wild parties in the South of France and owned a £10 million mansion in Hampstead, will now face the judgment of his own people and of the international community.
Arrested: Saif al-Islam pictured in a prison cell after his detention in the southern desert of Libya
Airborne: Saif Gaddafi (second right) on the plane which took him to Zintan, following his capture
CAMERON WARNS TRIAL MUST BE CARRIED OUT IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
Cameron revealed tonight that he has received assurances from Libyan
leaders that captured fugitive Seif al-Islam will be tried in line with
will offer 'every assistance' to Libya's government to ensure Muammar
Gaddafi's son is brought to justice over his role in the 'barbaric'
reign of terror, the Prime Minister added.
Cameron said: 'The Libyan government's announcement of Seif al-Islam's
arrest shows we are near the end of the final chapter of the Gaddafi
'It is a great achievement for the Libyan people and must now become a victory for international justice too.
could have contributed to a more open and decent future for his
country, but instead chose to lead a bloody and barbaric campaign
against his own people. The fate of the Gaddafis should act as a warning
to brutal dictators everywhere.
will offer every assistance to the Libyan government and the
International Criminal Court to bring him to face full accountability
and justice for what he has done.
'The Libyan government has told us again today that he will receive a trial in line with international standards, and it is important that this happens.'
If he decides to reveal all he knows about the UK’s relations with Libya during his father’s rule, his evidence could prove highly embarrassing.
Saif was indicted by the International Criminal Court during the brutal fighting that preceded the tyrant’s overthrow. Last night prosecutors said they would travel to Libya for talks.
Under international laws, Libya has the right to put Saif on trial. The ICC will only act if a country is unable or unwilling to prosecute.
Many Libyans want him tried in his own country because they believe he knows the location of billions of dollars of public money amassed by the Gaddafi family.
‘The good news is that Saif Al Islam is arrested, he is alive, and now he will face justice,’ said ICC lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo.
Speaking on the plane which took him to an army base, Saif denied reports that he had been in contact with the ICC while on the run, insisting: ‘It’s all lies. I’ve never been in touch with them.’
Libya’s justice minister said Saif would now be put on trial in his homeland for crimes that carry the death penalty, including instigating others to kill and misusing public funds.
Mohammed Al Alagy said: ‘We are ready to prosecute him. We have adopted enough legal and judicial procedures to ensure a fair trial for him.’
Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib celebrated Saif’s capture as the ‘crowning’ of the rebel uprising and said: ‘Saif Al Islam will receive a fair trial under fair legal processes which our own people have been deprived of for the last 40 years.’
Caught: Saif Gaddafi (left) said he was fine to journalists with him on the plane that took him to Zintan
Before the fall: A defiant Saif al-Islam strikes a typical 'V for victory' pose while talking to reporters at a press conference during the rebel uprising in August
Playboy: Saif, pictured at an opera ball, could spill some explosive secrets
Cameron said the arrest was ‘a great achievement for the Libyan people
and must now become a victory for international justice too’.
Once seen as a reformer who could end Libya’s isolation, Saif had cultivated relationships with those at the heart of the British Establishment.
Prince Andrew was a regular visitor to Tripoli as a trade ambassador and is reported to have played host to Saif at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Lord Powell, the former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, chaired a company that agreed construction deals in Libya.
Another person linked to Saif is Nat Rothschild, of the banking dynasty, who has business interests in Libya. In 2008 Saif was a guest at a party thrown by Mr Rothschild at his New York home. He was later a guest at a shooting party at Mr Rothschild’s British country home and also stayed at the family’s villa in Corfu.
Lord Mandelson, then Labour’s Business Secretary, was also a guest at the villa and has admitted discussing with Saif the fate of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, who was later released from prison in Scotland because of failing health.
Celebrations: Libyans hold up their national flag to hail the capture of Saif Gaddafi
Ecstatic: The streets of Benghazi were filled with Libyans on the news that Saif had been captured
Peace: Libyans young and old celebrated the capture of Saif Gaddafi
But the main effort to forge closer
links with Gaddafi’s Libya was led by Mr Blair. In August 2003, Tripoli
agreed to compensate the Lockerbie victims and accepted responsibility
for its involvement in the atrocity.
Five days later, Mr Blair introduced a UN resolution to lift sanctions against the pariah state. The following year, he embraced Colonel Gaddafi when they met in the Colonel’s tent near Tripoli to discuss bilateral relations.
Saif knows Britain well since studying for a PhD at the London School of Economics. Britain’s former Ambassador to America, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, has been forced to deny claims he helped him with his thesis.
But Sir Howard Davies resigned as LSE director after it emerged that Saif’s charitable foundation had given the college a grant of £1.5 million.
Last year, Saif was invited to give a speech at the university, at which Professor David Held described him as ‘someone who looks to democracy, civil society and deep liberal values for the core of his inspiration’.
DOWNFALL OF A DYNASTY: WHERE ARE THE GADDAFIS NOW?
Muammar Gaddafi - DEAD
The Libyan dictator and patriarch of the feared Gaddafi clan was killed on October 20 in his hometown of Sirte, the last loyalist stronghold to fall to the former rebels. After his death, his body was on display in the city of Misrata and attracted long queues of people wanting to see him in the flesh.
Saif Al Islam Gaddafi - CAPTURED
The 'heir', whose liberal reputation was undermined after the outbreak of the revolt in February, is the only Gaddafi to have been taken alive, following his capture yesterday.
Mutassim Gaddafi - DEAD
The hedonistic national security adviser died in Sirte on the same day as his father. He was captured by the rebels and seen alive in a video, but just minutes later was dead of a bloody wound, leading many to believe that he was summarily executed by National Transitional Council forces.
Saif Al Arab Gaddafi - DEAD
The 29-year-old, who studied in Germany, was apparently killed by Nato bombardment on Gaddafi's home in Tripoli on April 30.
Saadi Gaddafi - FLED
The footballer was signed to top Italian teams for several years, but made only two appearances - apparently at the behest of Italy's then-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Despite claiming to be 'neutral' in the Libyan civil war, he fled to Niger in September. The country says it will not allow him to be extradited.
Khamis Gaddafi - DEAD?
The death of Colonel Gaddafi's youngest son has been repeatedly announced, but never confirmed. Both pro-regime sources and rebels have claimed that he was killed on August 29, when the convoy he was travelling in was attacked by a Nato aeroplane.
Safia Gaddafi - FLED (with her children)
The Colonel's second wife escaped to Algeria in late August, soon after the fall of Tripoli. She is believed to have been with her children Hannibal and Aisha, and her stepson Muhammad, Gaddafi's only child from his first marriage. The Algerian government claims to have offered to return them to Libya.
Blair will have cause to worry what secrets Saif might disclose
By ABDEL BARI ATWAN
Saif Al Islam Gaddafi was captured on his way to Niger, where his family had bought themselves many friends with their country’s oil money.
But other friends from the past will have cause to worry because Saif is party to many potentially embarrassing secrets.
The question now is will Saif be tried at the International Criminal Court or will he face rough justice in Libya, where there is no judiciary in place? Saif would obviously prefer the ICC and I understand communication had already been opened regarding a possible negotiated surrender, so there is still a chance. However, a Libyan trial is the more likely.
Links: Blair and Gadaffi pictured in 2007 - will he be squirming regarding Saif's capture?
Nato almost certainly had a hand in the summary execution of Muammar Gaddafi, who also knew too many secrets that would have come to light in a full and fair trial in The Hague. A ‘revolutionary court’ in Tripoli will most likely sentence Saif to death and his secrets will be buried with him.
So what secrets could the ICC hear? The most damaging, in all likelihood, concern Tony Blair. Last year I heard from very good sources that the former Prime Minister had become an adviser to the
Libyan Investment Authority, a £40 billion fund established by the Gaddafis in 2006.
Around the same time, Saif said that Mr Blair had become a good friend of the family and had visited Libya several times. While in office, Mr Blair was one of the most enthusiastic advocates for Colonel Gaddafi’s rehabilitation with the international community and became a regular visitor to the leader’s tent in Tripoli from 2004. And by 2007, Mr Blair was using his access to the Libyan leader to the advantage of multinational companies, securing a £600 million oil deal for BP.
The nature of the relationship between Mr Blair and the Gaddafi family and what personal advantages he may have accrued as a result are a matter for speculation. Saif, of course, knows the facts.
In June 2010, Tony Blair denied he was an adviser to Colonel Gaddafi, but this is the man who asserted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Many Arabs do not consider that Mr Blair’s word can be trusted.
The capture of Saif represents the end of the Gaddafi dynasty. Three brothers have been killed and the father lynched. Apart from Saif, two brothers are still alive: Muhammad, a businessman with no obvious political ambitions and Saadi, a playboy now under house arrest in Niger.
Saadi’s strange career perhaps epitomises the role of the Gaddafi clan on the international stage: an aspiring footballer, the family contributed generously to three Italian clubs and, in return, Saadi trained with them. He was a notoriously mediocre player but still Silvio Berlusconi encouraged the manager of Perugia to let him play in a match as ‘it is good for relations between our countries’.
A similar lack of moral judgment – and an enormous interest in oil – seems to have informed other leaders’ approaches to the Gaddafi clan. Details of exactly what other colourful arrangements were reached as a result, however, may well be buried with Saif.
Abdel Bari Atwan is editor of Al Quds Al Arabi, an independent, Arab newspaper based in London.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT SAIF AL-ISLAM GADDAFI?
Born in 1972, Saif (pictured right) is the oldest of seven children.
He earned an engineering degree in
Libya and a business degree in Austria before wrapping up his education
with a master's degree and doctorate at the London School of Economics
His engagement in Libyan politics
began in the 1990s, when he became the president of the Gaddafi
International Foundation for Charity Associations.
The organisation has acted as an
intermediary in several disputes and helped lead to a rapprochement
between Libya and the international community.
He often acted as an envoy for his
father's regime, and in 2002 and 2003 helped broker the agreement that
saw Libya renounce its weapons of mass destruction program and begin its
journey back into the international fold.
He lobbied militants to release
hostages, funded research at the London School of Economics, welcomed
world leaders and Western intellectuals to his country and portrayed
himself as a champion of economic and social reforms.
In 2009, he aided talks in Britain
that eventually secured the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only
man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie,
A 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable released
by the website WikiLeaks said his high-profile role as the public face
of the regime to the West has been a mixed blessing for him.
It added: 'While it has bolstered his image ... many Libyans view him as self-aggrandizing and too eager to please foreigners at the expense of Libyans' interest.'
Arrest may pose 'acid test' for transitional government
The capture of Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam ties up an awkward loose end for Libya's new rulers, but disputes over what to do with him could severely strain the country's fledgling systems and structures. In the short term, his capture is seen perhaps offering a useful distraction from the growing problems faced by post-war Libya. But some fear it may simply end up fuelling further division or damage to the reputation of those now in charge.
While Saif al-Islam looked for now to have avoided the brutal fate of his father - killed shortly after his capture - it is far from clear what will happen next.
Western states in particular are keen that he be handed over to the International Criminal Court, which indicted him earlier this year for crimes against humanity during the crackdown on protesters.
Testing time: Gaddafi's fate will be a test for Libya's interim government and the rebel troops that overthrew the dictator
'This may temporarily bring the feelgood factor back to the streets, with most of the recent attention being focused on clashes and divisions between different rebel militias, and protests over pay and the perceived mistakes of the NTC,' said Alan Fraser, Middle East analyst for London-based risk consultancy AKE, referring to post-Gaddafi transitional authorities.
'[But] what's for certain is that it will ignite passions that could have the potential to destabilise the reconstruction process. There will be a lot of media attention on this issue and that will likely prevent it from going away.'
Senior members of Libya's NTC have said they would rather he was tried in the country, but for now lack any coherent legal system with which to do so. As things stand, it is far from clear whether those in charge in Tripoli have the clout to take control of the prisoner.
Zintan was one of the western towns that bore the brunt of Gaddafi's military wrath during the early days of the conflict. Like many other regions, it now has its own largely autonomous forces that have yet to be brought under the direct control of the NTC.
'This is an acid test of the NTC's authority,' said Henry Smith, Libya analyst for London-based consultancy Control Risks.
'The capture presents a challenge... if they want to try Saif then what can they do to make Zintan hand him over.
'They do not have the capacity to use coercive means so do they offer the town the coveted security portfolios in the forthcoming cabinet? If so, then to which of the Zintan militias? They may leave his fate to the Zintanis, but then where does that leave Libya's embryonic justice system?'
Western human rights groups were critical of the mob justice handed out to Gaddafi senior and to at least one of his sons, and, along with many foreign governments, are demanding Saif al-Islam be better treated. 'The authorities will send an important message that there's a new era in Libya, marked by the rule of law, by treating Saif al-Islam humanely and surrendering him to the ICC,' said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch.
'His fair prosecution at the ICC will afford Libyans a chance to see justice served in a trial that the international community stands behind.'
Human Rights Watch said there was far too much evidence of extrajudicial killings of former Gaddafi loyalists by opposition fighters as well as mistreatment in custody.
Rights group Amnesty International said an immediate transfer to the ICC was the best option for Saif al-Islam.
'He must be handed over to the ICC, and his safety and rights must be guaranteed," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
'After what happened after the capture of Muammar and Mutassim Gaddafi, we hold the NTC responsible for preventing similar harm coming to Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, so that he can face justice for his alleged crimes in a fair trial with no death penalty.'
But other analysts are unconvinced that handing the most prominent surviving member of the Gaddafi clan over to perceived foreign justice is a viable option for the NTC, keen to avoid any perceptions it might become a Western stooge.
A well conducted trial, they say, could actually serve to burnish the NTC's reputation. But some worry that a chaotic trial - particularly if followed by an execution - could simply reinforce the image of a country largely out of control. Others ponder just how much political damage the well-connected Saif al-Islam might do in the witness box.
'A prolonged trial may also bring divisions to the surface, and Saif may know a lot of secrets that could damage the reputations of some in the NTC and the West,' said Fraser.
'He could potentially throw the cat among the pigeons and divert attention from the task of restoring security and political stability.'
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