Former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi's son and heir apparent, Saif al-Islam, is reportedly ready to surrender to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, apparently preferring the comfort of a Dutch prison cell to facing the questionable ministrations of Libyan rebels.
The 39-year-old eldest son of Qaddafi's second wife allegedly asked for an aircraft to take him out of the desert in southern Libya, and for a third country to be involved in his transfer to The Hague."He wants to be sent an aircraft," a source told Al Arabiya by telephone. "He wants assurances." The source said the fugitive's whereabouts and intentions had been tracked by monitoring satellite phone calls along with data in intelligence cables.
"He believes handing himself over is the best option for him," said a National Transitional Council (NTC) source in Libya quoted by Reuters.The younger Qaddafi has been on the run since his father was killed last Thursday in Sirte. Also fleeing through the Sahara is Libya's ex-intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, another member of the family.
Both are wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.Intelligence sources said that Senussi had managed to reach the Malian from Niger. According to the reports, confirmed by a security source in northern Mali, he is under the protection of Tuareg nomads. It was not clear whether Saif al-Islam was with the group.
On Thursday morning, former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi was freed by the Tunisian court of appeals after being arrested on charges of illegally entering the country last month. An extradition request by Libya's NTC was denied.
Niger has a legal obligation to hand over both Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi to the ICC. However, Fadi al-Abdallah, a spokesman for the court, said that did not mean that either man had agreed to go -- nor did it indicate that reports on the matter were in any way accurate.
Abdallah told the AFP news agency that he had "no information or confirmation" that either of the two were willing to surrender to the ICC. The report originated with Libya's NTC; Abdallah said "it is something we would have to follow up with the Council."
Thus far, 32 members of the former dictator's entourage have found refuge in Niger, including his son Sa'adi, three generals and the head of his personal bodyguards, Masur Daou.