Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat——“The peoples of the Arab Spring revolutions demand that their tormentors be tried for their political corruption and for the financial and humanitarian crimes they committed against their people and their countries.”, Fayez Jibril, the new Libyan ambassador to Egypt, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Libyan sources based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone that, “Al-Saadi, the son of the late Muammar Gaddafi, is preparing to leave Niger for either the Sultanate of Oman, where most of the members of the Gaddafi family have sought refuge, or for another African country. He does so in order to evade attempts by the Libyan authorities, who are working with Interpol, to secure his extradition.
Al-Saadi, 39 years old, had obtained political asylum in Niger, but was placed under house arrest in a luxury estate in the capital city of Niamey in an upscale neighborhood near the US and French embassies. Just before he fled, he called for a coup against the Libya’s new regime during a television interview.
The sources also reported that “The increasing pressure on Gaddafi’s son may have been what pushed him to try to leave the territory of Niger.” The same sources say that his final destination is unclear, but suggested that it was possible that he was going to rejoin his mother Safiya Farkash and his siblings Aisha, Mohammed, and Hannibal.
According to Abdel Hamid Abu Zaher, Algeria’s ambassador to Libya, most of the Gaddafi family had left Algerian territory for locations that are yet to be officially announced. He confirmed that the Gaddafi family departed long ago and that no members of the family remain in Algerian territory now.
Turning to Egypt, Fayez Jibril added that “the extradition of Gaddafi regime officials who fled to Egypt has turned into an unnecessary political tug-of-war between Egyptian political forces.”
Mr. Jibril thought it natural that Egypt respond to the repeated requests made by the Libyan authorities regarding the extradition of former regime officials turned fugitives. He pointed out that these officials should not have been considered political refugees in the first place.
Mr. Jibril said that he personally was exposed to severe persecution at the hands of the Gaddafi regime before the popular revolution. He indicated that Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, Gaddafi’s cousin and former coordinator of Egyptian – Libyan relations who is currently under arrest in Egypt and awaiting extradition to Libya, was among the former Libyan officials whom the Libyan authorities demanded that Egypt handover.
Mr. Jibril said, “Gaddaf al-Dam was a pillar of the former regime and was involved in a series of crimes against the Libyan people, and should be tried for the crimes which he committed over the course of nearly four decades.”
Mr. Jibril said that talks ought to be based on the strong relationship between Egypt and Libya given their common history and geography and the fraternal bond between them. He demanded that the countries’ good relations be translated into concrete facts on the ground which would allow the Libyan people to exercise their rights and try their persecutors. He continued saying, “All Arab officials should view this as a valuable lesson, that those who ride roughshod over the rights of the people will be put to trial, and sooner or later, punished for their actions.
The press bureau at the Libyan embassy in Cairo is holding a celebration on Monday for the second anniversary of the February 17 revolution which will honor Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former chairman of the National Transitional Council.
In related events, after the Libyan army conducted a surprise military exercise in the eastern city of Benghazi, Libyan authorities announced the discovery of a mass grave on the main road in Masuda Valley in the area of Umm al-Qandil near the Gulf of Sidra that contained the remains of five revolutionaries who had fought against Gaddafi’s forces.
A statement from the Libyan Army’s Chief of Staff said that: “The Air Force and special forces carried out a joint tactical mission in the military area of Benghazi the day before yesterday in order to improve combat efficiency and coordination between all Libyan units and troops.”