Saturday, February 25, 2012

Prisoner of Zintan: Gaddafi son in Libyan limbo

(Reuters) - In a secret location, somewhere among the sandstone and concrete buildings of the straggling mountain town of Zintan, Libya's most prominent prisoner awaits his fate.

Three months after he was captured far away in the Sahara desert dressed as a Bedouin tribesman, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son and one-time heir apparent of Libya's fallen leader, is being kept here, ostensibly to keep him safe from harm until the new Libyan government can organize a trial for him.

But the ad hoc nature of his detention highlights just how little control that government yet has over the country and over rival local militias, like that from Zintan which captured him.

"Zintan people must keep him for now because Tripoli is not ready to keep him safe. Outside Zintan, he could be kidnapped or killed," said one Zintan resident, chemistry teacher Bilgasim Abdallah, repeating the credo of the 35,000 townsfolk that he risks sharing his father's bloody fate if taken to the capital. Read More