Members of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s inner circle, including his son and heir-apparent Saif al-Islam, ordered the killing of opponents, according to intercepted phone calls obtained by Al Jazeera.
The orders were recorded on some of the more than 12,000 phone wire taps that Al Jazeera said belonged to former Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi and longtime Qaddafi loyalist Tayeb Al Safi.
On one call, Saif al-Islam orders the killing of opponents and Al Safi says that the commander of a base in the eastern city of Tobruk was a “traitor,” according to the station, whose English-language channel will begin airing some of the tapes tomorrow.
“We will send people to kill them. And if you have people, even just 10, let them go to Tobruk and kill them,” Saif al- Islam says, according to Al Jazeera.
The intercepts cover February to June 2011, when Qaddafi forces were struggling to put down the uprising that eventually forced Qaddafi’s demise. Libyan officials were recorded saying the NATO air strikes on the country could help them win the support of Libyans in their faltering battle against the rebels.
Saif al-Islam is currently being held by the Zintan militia, one of dozens of rebel groups that played a key role in toppling Qaddafi’s regime after months of fighting. He was captured in November, a month after his father was killed.
A call to Attaher Eturki, head of the Zintan city council, seeking access to Saif al-Islam and comment, was not answered. Calls placed to the spokesmen at the Interior and Justice ministries were also not answered.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at email@example.com