Magharebia (Washington DC)

Libya: Saadi Kadhafi Faces Libya Justice

Saadi Gaddafi and Saif al-Islam, two of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons, are expected to appear in court on Monday, facing charges of ... ( Resource: Trial Of Gaddafi's Two Sons, Former Officials Gets Underway

Shahat — Moamer Kadhafi's son Saadi arrived in Tripoli on Thursday (March 6th), following his extradition from Niger.

Charges against the former playboy include involvement in the 2005 murder of a former coach of Tripoli football club al-Ittihad. He is also accused of "seizing goods by force and intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation", Seddik al-Sour of the attorney general's office told AFP.

Saadi is also alleged to have caused the deaths of 20 fans in 1996 during a match between al-Ittihad and al-Ahly in Tripoli.

Other charges pending against him involve his role in quashing the revolution.

As part of his father's inner circle, Saadi had served as assistant commander of the security units and led a battalion in the fight against Libyan rebels.

On October 21st 2011, one day after his father and brother Mutassim were killed in Kadhafi's home town of Sirte, Saadi said he was ready to give himself up.

Instead, he fled across the desert to Niger.

Libya on Thursday said in a statement that Niger handed over Saadi Abu Minyar after it "proved beyond any doubt his responsibility for carrying out a terrorist plot targeting the lives of civilians and aiming to hit the national unity and to destabilise security in Libya".

Libyan intelligence reportedly submitted a large body of evidence to Nigerien authorities demonstrating the involvement of Kadhafi's third son in planning and supporting the recruitment of elements responsible for the January Sabha violence.

The government also demanded that other countries "follow the example of the Republic of Niger and hand over other wanted elements to the Libyan justice".

"The Libyan state is committed to fulfilling its obligations and to treating the defendant in accordance with the norms of justice and international standards," the statement concluded.

Upon his arrival at el-Hadaba prison in Tripoli, photos of Saadi with his shaved head and in prison uniform circulated on Libyan media.

Many people, especially in Tripoli and Benghazi, have expressed their joy for the ex-footballer's extradition, considering this step the beginning of the retribution against those who they saw as a symbol of the dictatorship of the Kadhafi era.

However, the timing of the handover and the suspicion of a financial transaction weighed on the situation. Abdullah Naker, head of Al-Qimma party, wondered in a televised interview about the sum the Libyan government paid in order to receive Saadi.

Journalist Leila Maghrebi said Saadi's return in this particular time could potentially be considered an achievement for the government.

"Personally, I think a handover with a huge financial payment is a waste of public money, especially if it is proven that the sum is 4 billion, an amount that the country needs for reconstruction instead," she told Magharebia.

"On the other hand justice must take its course with this criminal to be a lesson for all," she added.

She noted that the government blamed insecurity in the south on Saadi's support for criminal gangs. "If this is true, we will see the impact of the extradition in the near future as we get rid of the usual justification for the lack of security and the cronies," she said.

For her part, university professor Ibtisam Khalifa told Magharebia, "I wasn't very pleased with the news; perhaps events around us can no longer allow us to be happy."

"It is just a transaction they could do at any time," she said. "It seemed to be orchestrated to distract the street from its demands and try to convince it that the government made some achievements on the ground and that the arrest of Saadi is the key to security. The truth is: Libyan security must come from within."

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