Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saif Gadhafi on the Lam

Gadhafi's Heirs: Dead Dictator's Sons Speak Out


Just one of Moammar Gadhafi's eight children is still unaccounted for following the Libyan dictator's death last week, and although he is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court, Libya's former heir apparent is still trying to reclaim his father's glory.

Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, the London-educated son who was to succeed his father and carry on the dynasty is possibly still at large. Libya's interim government had said he was captured this weekend, but at the very same time the 39-year-old appeared on Syrian television.

"We continue our resistance. I'm in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge," Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi was heard saying on Syrian TV. "I say go to hell, you rats and NATO behind you. This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle."

The short message was broadcast on Syrian TV station Al-Rai on Sunday and was soon uploaded by several users onto YouTube. It's not clear if the audio-only message was broadcast live or was a recording. The Al-Rai station broadcasts into Libya, and in the past has broadcast messages from Moammar Gadhafi.

As the hunt for Saif intensifies, his brother Saadi Gadhafi, who escaped the country in September as rebel forces began to close in, has publicly lashed out about the death of his father and brother.

Under house arrest in Nigeria, Saadi issued a blistering condemnation of the way his father was treated after capture.

"These barbaric executions and the grotesque abuse of the corpses make it clear that no person affiliated with the former regime will receive a fair trial in Libya," he said through his publicist.

As news and video footage of his death surfaced, the United Nations' High Commission for Human Rights called for an investigation into the events surrounding his death; though video seems to show him in rebel custody, he allegedly died in "crossfire."
Libya's acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said that he would not oppose a full investigation under international supervision into his death, according to The Associated Press.

The fate of one of Gadhafi's other sons, Moutassim Gadhafi, is quite clear however: his body now lies with his father's on display in a meat refrigerator for all of Libya to see.
"This is his destiny because of all the evil he has done," one Libyan spectator said after lining up to see for himself the body of the man who ruled Libya for 42 years and his fifth son.

All of the dictator's eight children lived their lives as lavishly and as ruthlessly as their father.

Three of the Gadhafi children -- Moutassim, Khamis and Said al-Arab -- have been killed in the revolution. Three more, Hannibal, Mohammed and Gadhafi's only daughter Aisha – once called the Claudia Schiffer of North Africa -- are now living in exile in Algeria with Gadhafi's wife Safia.

Across Libya there is little sympathy for anyone in the Gadhafi family. The interim government officially declared the country liberated this weekend, and has promised to bring democracy.

While celebratory gunshots rang out across the capital of Tripoli, it has been one non-stop party as Libya begins its transition to democracy. A new interim government is expected to be declared within a month, with elections for a constitutional assembly expected within eight months.


Rebels: Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam captured alive

They say they've also nabbed slain Libya leader's spokesman; both men uninjured - .TqN0TZua9tM

Slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi's influential son and heir-apparent, Saif al-Islam, has been captured alive and uninjured, rebel sources told NBC News on Saturday.

Saif al-Islam and Moussa Ibrahim, the former spokesman for the Gadhafi's regime, were both captured in the Libyan city of Nessma, near Bani Walid, and were currently being transported to Misrata, rebel forces told NBC News.

The collaring of Gadhafi's fugitive son and spokesman could not be immediately verified. Rebel forces have been incorrect in the past with their reporting of the conditions and whereabouts of Gadhafi's loyalists.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, whose name means "Sword of Islam," was the most elusive of the late Libyan leader's eight offspring. He was wanted on war crimes charges but evaded a manhunt for months to remain the only leading family member still at large.

Rebels credited the Osoud el Wadi brigade, which translates as "Lions of the Valley," with the latest roundup of Gadhafi arrests.

Meantime, Gadhafi's body remained in Misrata, bearing wounds assumed to have been inflicted by fighters from the city who hauled him from a drain in his hometown Sirte.

Gadhafi's family and international human rights groups have urged an inquiry into how Gadhafi, 69, was killed, since gory cellphone video footage showed him alive but being beaten and taunted by his captors.

Rebel son

Controversy has surrounded the fate of Saif al-Islam, the most enigmatic of Gadhafi's children. He apparently turned within weeks from philanthropist and liberal reformer into a fighter ready to die on his home soil rather than surrender.

A senior official of the National Transitional Council said on Friday that it was suspected that Saif al-Islam had fled south from the last Gadhafi stronghold of Sirte towards Libya's border with Niger, where another son has already taken refuge.

Educated at the London School of Economics and a fluent English speaker, Saif al-Islam was once seen by many governments as the acceptable, Western-friendly face of Libya.

But when a rebellion broke out in February against his father's 42-year rule, Saif al-Islam immediately chose family and clan loyalties over his many friendships in the West.

"We fight here in Libya; we die here in Libya," he told Reuters TV in an interview early in the rebellion.
Three of Gadhafi's sons have died on their home soil during the civil war. Gadhafi's four other children — three sons and a daughter — are scattered in exile in neighboring Algeria and Niger.

Stymied efforts

Before the rebellion Saif al-Islam sometimes appeared genuinely at odds with Gadhafi senior, who ruled for 42 years through fear and violence.

Mainly through his charitable Gadhafi Foundation, Saif al-Islam pushed for reform, including more media freedom, acknowledgement of past rights abuses and the adoption of a constitution. He also oversaw a reconciliation with Islamist rebels who launched an insurgency in the 1990s.

But his efforts were stymied by opposition from inside the ruling elite and — some analysts say — from members of his own family. Last year the independent newspaper he helped to found was forced to mute its criticism of the authorities and his foundation withdrew from political activities.

One of his projects did succeed. He played a central role in negotiating the lifting of U.S. and European sanctions on Libya in 2004, in return for Tripoli ending its nuclear and chemical weapons programs.

This led to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair visiting Tripoli to embrace Gadhafi senior, long a pariah in the West.

Saif al-Islam owned a $16 million home in London, but his activities and friendships caused much embarrassment in the West when the rebellion broke out.

NBC News, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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