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Libyan Activists Refuse to Hand Over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to ICC

Libyan Activists Refuse to Hand Over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to ICC

Thursday, 14 November, 2019 - 10:15
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan (File photo: Reuters)

Libyan parties have rejected the trial of Saif al-Islam, son of late Muammar al-Gaddafi, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) after Libya’s representative at the court, Ahmed al-Jehani, agreed to bring him to The Hague.


Saif al-Islam is wanted on charges relating to the attempt to suppress the revolution that ousted his father in 2011.


Jehani announced before the tribunal, the approval of Tripoli’s government the request to hand over Gaddafi's son to ICC for trial on “war crimes.”


Political leader of the Libyan National Struggle Front (LNSF) Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam indicated that the go-ahead of Libya’s representative is not any different than the demands of some Libyans asking NATO to attack their country. He said this constitutes a “betrayal” that the country still suffers from.


Gaddaf al-Dam, who is Saif al-Islam’s cousin, added that this has divided Libyans into two camps - the first representing Gaddafi’s defense team. The second constituted of Justice Minister Mohamed Lamloum of the Government of National Accord and al- Jehani, who insisted on handing over a Libyan citizen to the ICC.


Lamloum responded to Gaddafi’s defense team by saying even if some of the crimes attributed to Saif al-Islam were covered by the amnesty law, the conditions for granting him an amnesty were not present.


He added that the law stipulates a written pledge to apologize, reconciliation with the victim, and pardon from relatives of the victims, which Saif al-Islam did not get.


Parties loyal to Gaddafi rejected the representative’s approval describing it as a “humiliation to the Libyan people.”


Libyan lawyer Khalid al-Ghuwail told Asharq Al-Awsat that the case is not legal because the prosecution decision was made following a memorandum issued by the Security Council, and therefore this case is political and doesn’t have a legal basis.


Ghuwail said the case was based on false accusations, given that Saif al-Islam did not hold any position under the previous regime and was a civil society activist.


In July 2015, a Tripoli court sentenced Saif al-Islam to death for his role in suppressing the Libyan uprising that toppled his father's regime. He is facing the same charges by the ICC.


In 2017, an armed battalion in the western city of Zintan released Saif al-Islam, who has not been seen in a public since then. ICC General Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda predicted in a recent report that he would be in Zintan.


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