More Information About Taylor’s Detention
An excellent new report by the Guardian contains a number of interesting tidbits. To begin with, the report confirms that Taylor — like her erstwhile client — is being held by the Zintan rebels, not by the Libyan government, and that the relationship between the two is strained:
Even if the NTC decides to release Melinda Taylor, it will face the problem of persuading Zintan’s powerful militia to hand her over – with relations frosty between the mountain town and central government. Zintan emerged from last year’s revolution with one of Libya’s most powerful armies and the tranquillity of the town contrasts with the sporadic gun battles that still rock the capital.
Taylor’s previous visit to the town to see Saif, in March, was at first blocked by Zintan’s militia, who said they had not been paid their salaries, international criminal court documents record. In April, Zintan went back on an agreement with the government to hand Saif over to Tripoli, where a specially modified prison has been built for him in the suburb of Tajoura.
The report also provides additional detail concerning the allegations against Taylor:
Officials in Tripoli insist the equipment found on the ICC delegation is for spying. It includes a tiny video camera hidden in the pen. They also suggest that Taylor concealed the “coded” non-ICC documents down her back. As well as the Ismail letter, Taylor is accused of smuggling in a mysterious list of numbers and three otherwise blank sheets of paper bearing Saif’s signature.
I suppose anything is possible, but I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that Taylor was smuggling documents down her back. Such an action makes no sense, given Taylor’s (justified) expectation that any communications between her and Saif would be completely confidential.
Finally, the report says that, despite its public intransigence, Libya may in fact be working to release Taylor:
Behind the scenes, however, it appears the country’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) is looking for a way out. The letter says Keib has held three top-level government meetings to discuss the case and is now seeking a “road map” to solve it.