By Alexandra Valiente
On June 27, Saif Qaddafi’s defense team held a press conference at The Hague where they outlined the facts of Saif’s case within the context of what had happened to Libya during the 2011 war, asserting that their client’s imprisonment had been motivated by political revenge, not by crimes committed. They asserted it was his right under international law to defend his country. They discussed the passage of the Amnesty Law by the House of Representatives (based in Tobruk) and that this law applied to Saif Al Islam.
The legal team included Khaled al Zaidi from Libya, Marcel Ceccaldi from France, Karim Khan from England and Haemala Alejandra from Malaysia.
Following the presentation at The Hague, Karim Khan told Libya 24 that Saif Qaddafi was granted his liberty on April 12, 2016 but remained in Zintan for his protection. They were awaiting a response from the ICC to their application to have Saif’s case declared inadmissible, since he cannot be tried twice for the same offense.
This disclosure was followed by two interviews with Khaled al Zaidi (I and II) and the publication of an excerpt from a book Saif had written during his detention that described the events of 2011 that led to his eventual capture.
While Western activists debate whether or not Saif is truly free, the tribes across Libya celebrated the news of his release and tribal councils of the wise representing regions, cities, towns, women and youth, declared their allegiance to Saif as their rightful leader. Official statements were also published by the Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes and various branches of the Green Resistance. More recently, dignitaries from the Eastern regions offered to provide Saif with a home where he could live among his maternal relatives.
While the statements of Saif’s lawyers, the Libyan people and the tribes are clear, the ICC, in collusion with the UN and foreign intelligence, are determined to obfuscate the truth as they continue to press their case against Saif. They cannot concede that the Amnesty Law is legitimate because they are wholly invested in propping up the UN-US-instated government of accord in Tripoli, which has no legitimacy within Libya and is merely a client regime serving Western interests, behind which their networks of terror operate with impunity.
The ICC’s actions are also at odds with the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, which stated in June that all detainees in Tripoli must be released and that their detention and trials defied all international laws and norms. Although tried in absentia by the Tripoli court, this decision also applies to Saif Qaddafi.
To their credit, Zintan has rejected the ICC’s latest demands to hand over Saif.
Notably, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Muammar and Mutasim Qaddafi, the family released an audio recording of Muammar Qaddafi’s last call to them and a short documentary, “Martyrdom of the Commander“. They did not publish an appeal for Saif.
I am confidant that Saif’s lawyers have been truthful regarding his status and that his whereabouts must remain secret for security reasons. From empire’s perspective, Saif Qaddafi is their most dangerous opponent in the region. His strong base of popular support, his commitment to remain in Libya in order to heal and rebuild the nation, are anathema to the imperial neocolonial agenda.