Last Updated: Sat Jun 09, 2012 16:21 pm (KSA) 13:21 pm (GMT)

Libya detains ICC lawyer meeting Qaddafi son for carrying suspicious letter

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi has been in custody in Zintan since his arrest on November 19, 2011. (Reuters)
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi has been in custody in Zintan since his arrest on November 19, 2011. (Reuters)

A lawyer for the International Criminal Court has been detained in Libya after she was found to be carrying suspicious letters for Muammar Gaddafi’s captured son Saif al-Islam, a Libyan lawyer said on Saturday.

The Australian lawyer, named as Melinda Taylor, was part of a four-member ICC delegation that had travelled to the small western mountain town of Zintan where Saif al-Islam has been detained since his capture in the desert in November.

“During a visit (to Saif al-Islam), the lawyer tried to deliver documents to him, letters that represent a danger to the security of Libya,” said Ahmed al-Jehani, the Libyan lawyer in charge of the Saif al-Islam case on behalf of Libya, and who liaises between the government and the Hague-based ICC.

Jehani said she is “under house arrest in Zintan, not in prison,” and is being questioned by the authorities.

He did not say what was in the documents but said they were from several people including Saif al-Islam’s former right-hand man, Mohammed Ismail.

Jehani said the ICC team, which arrived in Libya this week and had received permission from Libya’s prosecutor-general to visit Saif al-Islam in the secret location where he has been kept, had been searched before the meeting.

Without giving details, he said a pen with a camera as well as a watch with a recorder were found during the search. Asked whether she would be released soon, Jehani said: “I hope today.”

An ICC spokesman was not immediately reachable for comment.

Western-educated Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s one-time heir apparent, was captured by fighters from Zintan in Libya’s southern desert in November, dressed as a Bedouin tribesman, and taken to their home town.

The ICC issued a warrant for him last year after prosecutors accused him of involvement in the killing of protesters during the revolt that toppled his father, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years.

Tripoli and the ICC have been at loggerheads since Saif al-Islam’s capture over where he should be tried, with Libya arguing it could put him in the dock before a local court

The ICC ruled this month that he could stay in detention in the North African country while the court decides if it has the jurisdiction to try him.

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