Saif Gaddafi 'hopes' for Libyan trial

2012-04-11 22:40

The Hague - Saif al-Islam, son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told International Criminal Court officials he hoped to be tried in Libya but they doubted his statement, a report published on Wednesday said.

Saif, 39, who is wanted by the Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity in trying to put down the bloody revolt against Gaddafi last year, made the statement during a meeting with the officials in Libya last month.

"I hope I can be tried here in my country, whether they will execute me or not," he told two ICC officials, according to the report for judges from the court's registry dated 05 March and made public on Wednesday.

But the report - which also backed up claims that Saif had been mistreated - said it appeared he "was playing the part for the benefit of the [Libyan] prosecutor", whose representative was present in the hour-long meeting.

The tense 03 March meeting happened in Zintan, a town about 180km southwest of Tripoli, where Gaddafi’s eldest son has been held in custody since his capture by then Libyan rebel forces fighting to overthrow his father.

"It is important to note that for the registry representative, it was clear that [Saif] was not able to reply to the questions in the presence of the Libyan prosecution representative," the report said.

The only chance the registry official had to speak with Saif directly was when the Libyan prosecution official went outside for about five minutes and and Saif was asked whether he had been mistreated.

"His attitude changed from relaxed to intense and without saying a word he waved the hand where two fingers were missing and pointed to a missing tooth in the upper front" of his mouth, the report said.

The ICC issued a warrant for Saif's arrest and transfer to The Hague for trial, but so far Tripoli's new authorities have resisted, insisting he would get a fair hearing if put in a Libyan dock.

ICC defence official Xavier-Jean Keita has alleged that Saif had been assaulted since his arrest on November 19 last year in south-western Libya.

Libyan authorities said Saif would be kept at a prison at Tajoura, about 22km outside Tripoli after his transfer to the capital, but added construction would only be finished in the next two months, the report added.

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