Niger on Thursday extradited to Libya one of Moammar Gaddafi’s sons, al-Saadi, who fled as his father’s regime crumbled in 2011 and who was under house arrest in the desert West African nation ever since, the government in Tripoli said.
The authorities said al-Saadi, one of the deposed Libyan leader’s eight children, will be treated “in accordance with international law.”
A Libyan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said al-Saadi arrived early on Thursday at the Tripoli airport and was transferred to a prison in the capital.
Shortly after the news broke, photographs circulated on social media showing al-Saadi in a blue prison uniform while Libyan guards were shaving his hair and beard.
Al-Saadi was known for his love of professional soccer and a playboy lifestyle. His brief career in Italian football ended after a failed drug test. He headed Libya’s Football Federation and was also former head of the country’s special forces.
Like most of Gaddafi loyalists and ex-regime officials, al-Saadi is wanted for his role in curbing protests against his father’s rule and the killing of protesters.
But unlike his brother, Seif al-Islam, who was groomed to be Gaddafi’s successor, al-Saadi is not sought by the
International Criminal Court. Seif al-Islam is held by a militia in the western Libyan town of Zintan, which refuses to hand him over to the central government for trial.
With the extradition, al-Saadi joins Seif al-Islam as the only two of Gaddafi’s children currently in Libya. At least three other Gaddafi’s sons were killed during the uprising while the rest of the children sought asylum in neighbouring Algeria, along with Gaddafi’s wife and al-Saadi’s mother, Safiya.
The mother, a sister and two brothers, were granted asylum in Oman in 2012 and moved there from Algeria.
The rule of law is still weak in Libya after decades of Gaddafi’s reign. Courts are still paralysed and security
remains tenuous as unruly militias proliferate.