Was it rebel propaganda or did he escape? Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saïf Al-Islam made an appearance overnight in Tripoli, giving the lie to earlier reports that he had been arrested by Libya’s rebels. Saïf Al-Islam appeared smiling before journalists and mocked the ICC, claiming that the reports of his arrest were western propaganda.
His capture had been announced on Monday at a press conference in Benghazi by the head of Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), Moustapha Abdeldjeil. It had also been confirmed early on Monday morning by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, who uses information from the NTC.
Later on Monday, Ocampo said in a press statement that further conversations would take place with the NTC to “define the precise way to move forward, including the possibility to apprehend and surrender to the Court the three individuals” wanted by the ICC.
Saïf Al-Islam is wanted by the ICC, along with his father Muammar Gaddafi and Gaddafi’s military intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senoussi. for crimes against humanity committed in Libya in February 2011. He is accused of direct responsibility in crimes committed at the beginning of the Libyan rebellion. The ICC says Saïf Al-Islam was “de facto Prime Minister” and that together with his father he “conceived and orchestrated a plan to deter and quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against Gaddafi’s regime”.
UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell on Tuesday blamed the “fog of warfare” for the confusion over Saif al-Islam’s reported arrest.