Aisha Qaddafi Asks ICC to Try Saif al-Islam
The daughter of Libya’s late strongman Muammar Qaddafi on Tuesday sought a hearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to request it intervene on behalf of her brother Saif al-Islam
Aisha Qaddafi wants to the court with information about her brother's welfare, who has been indicted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity dating from Libya’s civil war last year.
Among the concerns she stipulates is the refusal of Libyan authorities to allow Saif al-Islam to be represented by foreign council.
Her plea comes on the heels of top UN Human Rights official Navi Pillay charging Libya's prisons under the new regime are as bad, or worse, than during the Qaddafi era.
“There's torture, extrajudicial executions, rape of both men and women,” Pillay told the Associated Press last week.
Aisha Qaddafi, along with her mother Safiya, her brother Hannibal, her half-brother Mohammed and other family members, fled Libya shortly afterrebel forces took control of the capital in August.
They are in an unknown location in the neighboring country of Algeria, which has given them asylum on humanitarian grounds.
However, Saif al-Islam, captured by rebel fighters after being betrayed by his Saharan desert guide while trying to flee the country, is being held in a Libyan jail awaiting trial on rape and murder charges.
The most notorious of Muammar Qaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam has been the subject of on ongoing turf-war between the new Libyan regime and the ICC.
Libya’s ruling new leaders insist he be tried at home and that he will be given a fair hearing. But the ICC insists it has jurisdiction and that he should be tried at the Hague.
Last year the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Muammar Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam, and the Libyan leader’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.
The indictment charged the three had mounted a systemic campaign of alleged rape, torture and murder by Libyan security forces to put down the revolt that ultimately ended Qaddafi's 42-year rule.
Supporters of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi say they doubt he can receive a fair trial in Libya and argue he should be tried instead by the ICC in The Hague.
If he is found guilty by a Libyan court, Saif al-Islam faces the death penalty, while a conviction at the Hague can at most result in a lengthy prison term.
Muammar Qaddafi was captured and summarily murdered by rebel fighters who caught up with him near his hometown of Sirte in October. Qaddafi’s last words – after being shot in both legs – were reportedly “Don’t shoot!”
His intelligence chief is reported to have been captured at the same time, but his fate is unknown.
Meanwhile, Saif al-Islam is being held in the town of Zintan, southwest of the Libyan capital, which is the base of the militia which captured him.
A major obstacle for the new Libyan government has been the refusal by the disparate regional and tribal militas that rose up against Qaddafi to accept a central military authority.
Even if the NTC were to agree to allow Saif al-Islam to be tried at the Hague there is no guarantee the fighters would agree to hand him over.