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Sat May 23 15:26:05 SAST 2015

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam appears on TV from prison cell

Sapa-AFP | 06 November, 2013 14:09
Saif al-Islam (C), a son of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, sits behind bars during his court appearance in Zintan in this still image taken from video May 2, 2013. Saif al-Islam appeared in court in the town of Zintan, where he had been held since his capture by former rebels in November 2011. Saif al-Islam, at the center of a legal tussle between Libya and the International Criminal Court (ICC), smiled and told reporters he was in good health during his brief appearance.
Image by: HANDOUT / REUTERS

Slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court, has appeared on television from his cell in a prison southwest of the capital.

He gave brief answers to three questions from a journalist for Alassema television late Tuesday, confirming that he was allowed to receive visitors and was in good health.

Asked if he wanted to be tried in Tripoli or Zintan, 180 kilometres from the capital, he said: "Zintan is in Libya. There's no difference between Zintan and Tripoli."

The broadcaster said he had at first declined to be interviewed through his lawyer, but had then agreed to answer just three specific questions.

With a finger placed over his lips to hide a missing tooth, Saif appeared nervous and uncomfortable in front of the camera. He wore a blue prison uniform and was seated on his cell bed.

Ajmi al-Atiri, head of the ex-rebel brigade which captured Gaddafi’s son in November 2011 and has been holding him since, said for "security reasons" he would not be transferred to Tripoli.

On October 24, a Tripoli court indicted Saif and around 30 Gaddafi aides for a raft of alleged offences during the 2011 revolt which toppled the regime.

But the Zintan rebels refused to have him transferred to the capital, despite a request from Libya's prosecutor general and although the authorities say his jail is under state control.

Instead, Seif appeared in court in Zintan the same day on charges of undermining state security.

Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s former heir apparent, is still wanted for trial by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the uprising.

The ICC in May rejected Tripoli's request to try the slain dictator's son in Libya because of doubts over a fair trial. Tripoli has appealed the decision.

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