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Christopher Ahl, Play the Game: "An excellent Middle East Football blog"
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Soccer-playing Qaddafi son denies Interpol allegations

Al Saadi al Qaddafi

By James M. Dorsey
Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi’s soccer-playing son, Al Saadi al Qaddafi, has denied allegations of corruption and intimidation that prompted world police body to put him on the organization’s most wanted list.

Al Saadi, in an email obtained by The Associated Press, denounced Interpol’s issuance of a warrant for his arrest as political.
Interpol said on Thursday that Al Saadi, who last month fled to Niger where he is under house arrest, was being sought at the request of the Transition National Council (TNC) "for allegedly misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation."

It demanded that Al Saadi’s host country arrest him "with a view to returning him to Libya where an arrest warrant for him has been issued."

The world police body noted that Mr. Qaddafi’s 38-year old son had also been a military commander involved in the brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrators that sparked the United Nations no-fly zone and NATO intervention. Interpol said that Al Saadi’s assets had been frozen by the UN and that he was subject to a travel ban by the world body.
In the email Al Saadi said that he "regrets the issue of a red notice by Interpol and strenuously denies the charges made against him".

He called the Interpol notice a "clear political decision to recognize the de jure authority of the National Transitional Council taken without appropriate regard to the current absence of a functioning, effective and fair system of justice in Libya".
The international police agency said the notice was issued in response to a request by Libya's National Transitional Council.

Niger, which borders Libya on the south and long benefited from Gaddafi's largesse, said that it was willing to hand Al Saadi over to a third country but would not return him to Libya. "With regard to (our) international obligations, we cannot send someone back there where he has no chance of receiving a fair trial and where he could face the death penalty," Niger government spokesman Marou Amadou told Agence France Presse.
"On the other hand, if this gentleman or any other person is wanted by an independent court ... which has universal competence over the crimes for which he is pursued, Niger will do its duty," Mr. Amadou said.

The International Criminal Court in July issued arrest warrants for Mr. Qaddafi himself as well as his second son, Saif al Islam, and his intelligence chief Abdullah al Senoussi.

James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

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