Saif al-Islam to be moved to Tripoli: Report

Saif al-Islam, son of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi, has agreed to take a lawyer.

Tripoli: Saif al-Islam, son of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi, will be moved next week to Tripoli and has agreed to take a lawyer, Libya`s representative to the
International Criminal Court said on Saturday.

"Saif al-Islam will be transferred from his prison in Zintan to an official prison in the capital Tripoli before the end of the (coming) week," Ahmed Jehani said, declining to give an exact date for security reasons.

"The revolutionaries of Zintan have agreed to hand him over to the authorities, so he will be transferred and tried according to Libyan law," Jehani said.

He said Saif al-Islam "had refused to hire a lawyer in the beginning but in the past two days has accepted to take a defence lawyer," who could be either Libyan or foreign.

Saif al-Islam, who was arrested on November 19 in southern Libya, is being held in a secret detention centre in Zintan, 180 kilometres south of Tripoli, where he has allegedly been mistreated by his wardens.

The ICC wants to bring Saif to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity for his role in battling the uprising against his father last year, but Libya`s new government wants to try him at home.

"No amount of pressure will push Libya to hand him over," said Jehani.

Salwa Dugheili, chairman of Libya`s judicial committee, shared that view.

"We`ve said it over and over again: it is the right of Libyans and their judges to carry out this trial," she said, stressing it was unlikely her country will yield on the issue.

Saif al-Islam, she said, is not the only figure of the previous regime being held by "revolutionaries”, or former rebels, awaiting trial as security issues have stalled a full reactivation of the judiciary.

"Many, many remnants of the former regime are being held in prisons run by revolutionary brigades across the country waiting to be transferred to state prisons," she said.

Rights groups have documented numerous cases of abuse in such facilities which lack oversight and experienced prison personnel.

ICC defence official Xavier-Jean Keita charged on Thursday that Saif al-Islam was "physically attacked" in detention, denied necessary dental treatment and kept in isolation.

Jehani dismissed the allegation as "out of date”, saying medical treatment had been provided since the ICC`s visit on March 03.

"Saif is being treated well and doctors have visited him in prison," he said. (AFP)