The Israeli model and actress Orly Weinerman, who was romantically linked to the son of slain Libyan strongman, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, has asked former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to help save his life, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
“Seif worked closely with Mr. Blair before he was captured,” Israeli Ynet News website quoted Weinerman as saying to the British tabloid The Daily Mail on Sunday.
“The two are old friends – it is time that Mr. Blair returned some loyalty. Mr. Blair is a man of God – as a Christian he has a moral duty to help a friend in need,” she added.
Weinerman, 41, urged Blair, currently the envoy of the Middle East Quartet diplomatic grouping, to get Seif’s accusers to “see reason.”
The Israeli model admitted that she was Seif’s girlfriend for six years after meeting him in London in 2005 through mutual friends. She said “the fact that Seif was prepared to involve himself in a loving relationship with a Jew is a measure of how open and civilized he is,” The Haaretz quoted her telling the tabloid.
Her parents, she said were against her converting to Islam, and her relationship with Seif came under a lot of criticism in the Israeli press.
“It was something we had to deal with,” she said.
The model, who left London and now lives in Tel Aviv, said of her former boyfriend: “he judged people for what they are, not what people perceive them to be. Seif never made an issue of my religion or the country I came from.”
Documents found during the Libyan uprising, meanwhile, support that Blair and Muammar Qaddafi were closely linked. A 2007 letter written by Blair offered suggestions to assist withSaif’s PhD at the London School of Economics. It has been reported that Blair has with met Qaddafi in the infamous ‘Deal in the Desert’ in 2004 to bring Libya in from the cold.
Seif and death sentence
Saif might be handed a death sentence if he is proved to be guilty for the death of protesters during last year’s uprising against his father.
Libya insisted the trial be held in the country despite International Criminal Court’s request for it to be held in The Hague.
Seif al-Islam too wants to be tried before ICC if justice is to be served, according to his lawyers.
“You should just ask Mr. Blair what a serious, honorable person he is. The ICC has let him down, and so has the international community. Killing him will achieve absolutely nothing, beyond punishing him for who his father was. Absolutely everything must be done to save him,” said Weinerman.
Meanwhile, Libya has rebuffed accusations that he was mistreated.
According to an Algerian journalist who spoke with Al Arabiya, Seif’s guard told him last June that “Seif is being treated in accordance with Shariah teachings that preserve the detainee’s dignity.”
The guard said Seif’s cell is “a large room with a bathroom and a courtyard where he can walk and sit under the sun. He exercises daily.” He added that Seif has asked for some religious books to read, and he has been provided with English books by some of the international organizations that visited him.
Seif has been held by a local militia in Zintan, 136 km southwest of the capital Tripoli. The militia arrested him in the Libyan desert on November 19, 2011. Libya decided to put him on trial, defying a demand by the International Criminal Court which issued an arrest warrant and demanded to try him on war crimes.