One of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons has arrived in the Libyan capital for the first time since the 2011 revolution that toppled his father after Niger, where he’d long been under house arrest, finally agreed to extradite him.
Saadi Gadhafi, 40 — the former head of Libya’s soccer federation who was notorious for a playboy lifestyle during his father’s regime — fled to Niger after his father was deposed and summarily executed three years ago.
“The Libyan government received today Saadi Gadhafi and he arrived in Tripoli,” the Libyan government said in a statement early Thursday.
Saadi is one of the Libyan leader’s seven sons and, like most ex-regime officials, is wanted in connection with crackdowns on anti-government protesters in the run-up to his father’s ouster.
Al-Jazeera reports that Niger had previously refused to turn over Saadi, who fled there in September 2011 as his father’s forces were overrun. Reuters says that Libyan authorities believe he used Niger as a base for fomenting unrest in southern Libya after his father’s downfall.
Shortly afterward, Interpol issued a “red notice” calling for Saadi’s arrest and extradition, and Al-Jazeera reports that in December 2011, Mexican authorities foiled a plot to smuggle Saadi from Niger into Mexico.
Reuters says Saadi is the first of Gadhafi’s sons to face trial in Libya and that his better-known brother, Saif al-Islam, once viewed as the regime’s heir, has been held captive by fighters in western Libya “who refuse to hand him over to a government they deem too weak to secure and try him.”