In an anonymous concrete house, in the back streets of the mountain stronghold of Zintan, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi sits alone, with no access yet to a lawyer, friends, or even the four men captured with him.
“For sure, he is just sitting there, thinking about his fate,” Osama Jueili, the head of the Zintan Brigade and the man responsible for Saif al-Islam’s security, told The Sunday Telegraph.
He does have 20 brigade men on permanent station to guard him. It is doubtful they have much in common with the man who pursued the bright lights of Europe in white tie and tails and once thought he was destined to rule over them.
The capture of the late dictator’s son was a happy moment for Libya. A clean operation, it was performed without the bloodlust attendant on his father, Muammar, and brother, Mutassim.
Yet unlike their deaths, Saif al-Islam’s fate will linger in the international consciousness for months as he is brought to trial and, most likely, convicted and hanged. Endless questions will be raised – not least by his own lawyers – about his character, his relationship to his father, and his close contacts with politicians and businessmen like Tony Blair, and fellow partygoers Peter Mandelson, Nathaniel Rothschild and Oleg Deripaska.
The process will be a test too of the stability of the new Libya, and of whether a country held in thrall to the whim of one man can unite to the difficult cause of building peaceful, prosperous institutions.
His immediate concern will be the interrogation that awaits him at the hands of a committee of investigators being established by the Attorney General’s office in Tripoli, according to both Mr Jueili and the head of Zintan’s civilian council, Taher al-Tourki, an urbane lecturer in engineering recently returned from completing a PhD at De Montfort University in Leicester. Read the rest of this entry »