Soon after Muammar Gaddafi was laid to rest on Tuesday morning, Algerian online newspaper Al-Shuruk claimed his surviving family members had chosen exile in South Africa instead of a Gulf state. Not according to Dirco. By KHADIJA PATEL.
Al-Shuruk stated that all Gaddafi’s surviving relatives – his widow Saffiyah, daughter Aisha, and sons Muhammad and Hannibal, who fled to Algeria – plan to travel to South Africa. The paper claims they will be joined there by another son, Saadi, who fled to Niger, as well as Saif-al-Islam, fugitive from the International Criminal Court. However, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation denied the report.
The South African government has previously been suspected of offering Gaddafi himself refuge, though the South Africans tried to quash these rumours. In his heyday Gaddafi was a favourite of the ANC, but in his final few months his friends in the South African government turned their backs on him.
It remains to be seen whether the Gaddafi family will prevail on South Africa to recall the historical debt it owes Gaddafi. His family are still subject to a UN Security Council restrictions on their movements.
Saadi Gaddafi is also subject to an Interpol “red notice” on a request by the new Libyan government for his extradition for alleged crimes dating back to when he headed the Libyan Football Federation. He has been subject to a UN travel ban since early in the uprising. Niger then is not likely to allow Saadi to travel outside the country, and has refused to extradite him unless his life and safety can be guaranteed.
Algeria is yet to bow to pressure to extradite Gaddafi’s family to the new Libyan administration. Libya’s National Transitional Council is reported to have repeatedly demanded Gaddafi’s family be extradited to stand trial.
There could well be some credence to the Algerian report that the family wants to be exiled in South Africa, but it’s doubtful that they’ll be welcome. DM
Photo: Saif al-Islam. Reuters.
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