ALGIERS (Reuters) - The daughter of Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi asked on Tuesday to make representations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to help her brother Saif al-Islam, who is in a Libyan jail awaiting trial on rape and murder charges.
Aisha Gaddafi wants to hand information to the court about the welfare of Saif al-Islam, who has also been indicted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity dating from Libya’s civil war last year.
Supporters of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was captured disguised as a Bedouin in the Sahara desert in November, say they doubt he will be given a fair trial in Libya. They say he should be tried instead by the ICC in The Hague.
If he is found guilty by a Libyan court, Saif al-Islam faces the death penalty while if the court in the Hague convicts him the most he can be given is a prison term.
A document submitted to the ICC for Aisha Gaddafi suggested that the Libyan authorities were unwilling to let any foreign lawyer act for Saif al-Islam.
“Aisha Gaddafi wishes to protect the interests of her brother,” said the document, which was seen by Reuters.
Saif al-Islam, the most high-profile of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, is the subject of wrangling between the new Libyan authorities and the ICC on where he should be tried.
Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council says he should be tried at home and that he will be given a fair hearing. But the ICC has reserved the right to insist that he be sent to the Hague.
The ICC has jurisdiction over the case because it issued a warrant last year for the arrest of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, and the Libyan leader’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.
All three were indicted on charges of crimes against humanity. The charges related to failed attempts by Libyan security forces to put down a revolt last year which eventually ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.
Aisha Gaddafi asked the court to be able to give information to the ICC about attempts she has made to contact Saif al-Islam, and two telephone interviews with Libya’s deputy prosecutor, showed the document, which was signed by her lawyer Nicholas Kaufman.
“From these telephone conversations, it may be inferred that the Libyan authorities who purport to be investigating and prosecuting Saif al-Islam Gaddafi refuse to deal with international legal counsel,” Kaufman said in the document.
The information, which was not disclosed in the document, would be filed confidentially, Kaufman said.
Muammar Gaddafi was killed after rebel fighters captured him near his hometown of Sirte in October. His intelligence chief is reported to have been captured but his location is unknown.
Saif al-Islam is being held in the town of Zintan, southwest of the Libyan capital, which is the base of the militia which captured him.
Aisha Gaddafi, along with her mother Safiya, her brother Hannibal, her half-brother Mohammed and other family members, fled Libya around the time that rebel forces took control of the capital in August.
They are in an unknown location in the neighbouring country of Algeria after the government there took them in on what it said were humanitarian grounds.
Additonal reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; editing by David Stamp