Pay row delays Gaddafi son transfer

2012-05-28 22:04

Tripoli - Seif al-Islam, the son of Libya's dead dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has not been transferred to Tripoli because the ex-rebels holding him have not been paid, Libya's envoy to the International Criminal Court said on Monday.

"The failure of the National Transitional Council to fulfil its promise to pay the salaries of the thuwar [revolutionaries] of Zintan for six months' work, for an amount of not more than $1.36m, led them to cancel Seif al-Islam's transfer to prison in Tripoli," Ahmed al-Jehani told AFP.

Jehani denied that this sum of money represented "compensation" for the transfer of Gaddafi's son.

"It is a normal demand. This is just the salary of the thuwar for their work in recent months," he said.

"Initially the NTC said they were ready to pay this sum. But when the time came, they failed to meet their commitments and said: 'It's only possible to pay half the amount'," Jehani added.

Seif, 39, has been in custody in the town of Zintan 180km southwest of Tripoli since his arrest last November 19, in the wake of the uprising that toppled his father's rule after more than 40 years in power.

Both Seif and his late father's spymaster, Abdullah Senussi, are wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity committed in trying to put down last year's bloody revolt.

Libya has been at loggerheads with the ICC over who has the right to bring the two former regime figures to justice.

Jehani said that Seif continues to refuse legal counsel.

"When Seif al-Islam receives foreign guests he says he wants to be defended by a lawyer in front of a Libyan tribunal. But when a Libyan asks him, he rejects the trial process or the appointment of a lawyer," Jehani added.

"The solution is in his hands because so far he has refused that a lawyer be appointed for his defence," he said.

The ICC appointed attorney Xavier-Jean Keita to defend Seif but the lawyer has yet to meet his potential client.

Keita said earlier this month that despite several requests to meet his client, the Libyan authorities so far had not cooperated.