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ICC delegation detained in Libya


ICC delegation detained in Libya

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was captured in Zintan in November, 2011. Tripoli is reluctant to hand him over to the international criminal court, insisting he should be tried in Libya. Photograph: Ismail Zitouni/ReutersInternational criminal court representatives were on their way to meet Saif Gaddafi in Zintan and had assurances from authorities

Cass Jones

A delegation from the international criminal court has been detained by Libyan authorities on their way to meet Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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The ICC's president, ICC Sang-Hyun Song, has expressed his "concern" for their safety and demanded their immediate release.

The four-member delegation included one of two lawyers the court has assigned to defend the legal interests of Gaddafi, who has been held by revoluntionary fighters since his capture in November.

In a statement, the ICC president said the group had been held since Thursday. "We are very concerned about the safety of our staff in the absence of any contact with them.

"These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission. I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them."

The group had travelled to Libya on Wednesday to meet Gaddafi in Zintan. They had been assured by the authorities that they would allow them to meet him.

The former dictator's son has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity but Libya's interim government has so far refused to hand him over for trial in the Netherlands, insisting he should be tried in his home country.

Reports suggested the delegation was detained after one of its lawyers was found to be carrying suspicious documents, including a letter from Gaddafi's former right-hand man Mohammed Ismail.

The lawyer that represents Libyan interests at the Hague, Ahmed Al-Jehani, said Melinda Taylor, an Australian defence lawyer, had shared paperwork that could "harm Libya's national security".

Members of the brigade holding Gaddafi said they would not release the ICC representatives before questioning them.

Source: The Guardian UK



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