(Corrects location of Interpol in fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Niger will allow the transitional government in Libya to interrogate Saadi Qaddafi, who fled to the capital, Niamey, after his father Muammar Qaddafi lost control of Tripoli and is wanted by Libyan officials on suspicion of “armed intimidation.”
Niger recognizes the National Transitional Council as the only legitimate authority in Libya and its members can “come freely” to Niger, Justice Minister Marou Amadou was quoted as saying today by Niamey-based state radio station Voix du Sahel.
At least 32 Libyans, including three generals, have sought refuge in neighboring Niger in the weeks since NTC forces took control of the capital, Tripoli, at the end of August. Saadi Qaddafi, 38, was welcomed in Niger for “humanitarian reasons,” Amadou said.
Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for him on Sept. 29 at the request of the NTC for allegedly “misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation” when he headed the Libyan Football Federation. The police group, based in Lyon, France, said he should be located, arrested and handed over to Libyan authorities.
The NTC is seeking to round up former officials to try them in Libya. Interpol issued so-called red notices for Muammar Qaddafi, another son, Saif al-Islam, and former military intelligence director Abdullah al-Senussi at the request of the International Criminal Court on Sept. 9 for alleged crimes against humanity.
The council’s drive to complete the liberation of the country is being hampered by political infighting and the doggedness of Qaddafi’s supporters in their last two strongholds of Bani Walid and Sirte. NTC officials say a new government to see Libya through to elections will only be unveiled once the entire country under their control.
Saadi Qaddafi is also subject to a United Nations travel ban and asset freeze imposed in March because he was a commander of military units allegedly involved in the repression of demonstrations during Libya’s uprising.
Interpol’s decision to issue the red notice “is a clear political decision to recognize the de jure authority of the National Transitional Council taken without appropriate regard to the current absence of a functioning, effective and fair system of justice in Libya,” Nick Kaufman, who said he is acting as Saadi’s lawyer, wrote in an e-mailed statement today.
Saadi Qaddafi “strenuously denies” the charges made against him, according to the statement, and “continues to call on all sides to seek a negotiated and peaceful resolution to the present conflict.”
--Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Andrew J. Barden, Heather Langan, Digby Lidstone
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