19 Sep Saif Does Not Appear in Tripoli — and Won’t Anytime Soon
In today’s weekly news wrap, Jessica flagged an article that said Saif was due to appear in court in Tripoli for the beginning of the pre-trial phase of the case against him, al-Senussi, and 36 (!) other defendants. The article was inaccurate, and was later updated to make clear that Saif was appearing in Zintan on unrelated charges — not in Tripoli. Indeed, the Zintan militia holding Saif recently made it abundantly clear that it has no intention of handing Saif over to the central government anytime soon — if ever. Just check out the militia’s statements:
“It is impossible to hand him over to Tripoli”, said a senior Zintani local official today under conditions of anonymity. “And you can put three red lines under the word ‘impossible’,” he added. The reason, he said, was because “Tripoli is under the control of outlaws”.
He was believed to be referring to the alleged dominance of the Justice and Construction Party and the Muslim Brotherhood over the government and Congress and the large presence in the city of military units from Misrata and elsewhere.
Today’s categorical statements reconfirm remarks by Zintan Local Council leader Mohamed Wakwak two months ago. At the beginning of July, he told this newspaper that Saif Al-Islam would not be handed over, in this case because Tripoli was in the hands of secularists and unbelievers.
It doesn’t get much more unequivocal than that!
As an aside, I did a six-minute interview about Saif and Libya with ABC 24 last night — Australia’s 24-hour public news channel. If you’d like to watch the clip, you can find it here. Live television is terrifying!