Wanted by both the International Criminal Court and the Libyan government, Col. Muammar Qaddafi's only living son Saif al-Islam looks to be trying his hardest to surrender to the former before the latter catches him. The Libyan transitional government confirmed on Thursday that the man once considered the "reformist face of the Libyan government" had crossed into Niger to avoid capture in his native Libya, according to Reuters. Al-Islam, who had been one of the more Western-friendly personalities in Qaddafi's government before the revolution, allied himself with his father as the citizens revolted and the ICC issued an arrest warrant for him. Now, he's also wanted by the National Transitional Council, and according to another Reuters report, he fears for his life in Libya. "If he has seen the gruesome video footage of his father's capture, he knows how he may be treated if he remains in Libya," the Reuters story reported. If he flees to Niger, however, he stands a good chance of making it to The Hague. More from Reuters:
Asked what the NTC was doing to cooperate with the ICC, the vice chairman of the Council, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, noted that the Libyans still hoped to try the suspects themselves:
"There aren't any special arrangements by the NTC," he said. "If Abdullah al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam are arrested inside Libya they will be tried and judged based on Libyan law.
"If they fled and went to countries such as Niger, for example, they will have to be surrendered to the ICC," he adding, noting reports that Senussi had already reached Niger.
As Reuters pointed out earlier on Thursday, al-Islam once promised to make his stand on his home turf.
"We fight here in Libya; we die here in Libya," he told Reuters Television in an interview shortly after the rebellion broke out in February.
Three of Gaddafi's sons did die on home soil, along with their father, whose battered and abused body went on public show in a meat store before its burial on Tuesday.
But Saif al-Islam, whose name means "Sword of Islam," wants to put his fate in the hands of the ICC, along with Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is also wanted by the court, the NTC official said.
With few friends left in Libya, the younger Qaddafi's best chance at avoiding a potential greusome death lies in getting to The Hague and into ICC custody as quickly as possible.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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