Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Qaddafi's son wanted for assault in hotel rampage


French prosecutors are taking action against the youngest son of the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, who is alleged to have beaten a pregnant woman during a rampage in a Paris hotel.

Motassim Bilal Qaddafi, known as Hannibal, will be summoned for questioning about the alleged attack, during which he is also said to have scuffled with police and brandished a gun. France has finally run out of patience with the 28-year-old rabble-rouser, who is said by the foreign ministry to have been involved in "repeated incidents."

The police say that he has been falsely claiming diplomatic immunity.

Qaddafi allegedly beat the woman, eight months pregnant and described as his "companion," when she refused to let him into a room at the Grand Hotel, near the Paris Opera, late one night three weeks ago.

Police officers called after the hotel's security officers, who tried to calm him down, reported him waving an automatic pistol.

The woman was taken to hospital to be treated for bruises and "psychological trauma."

Qaddafi then moved to another hotel, to which the police were also called when he was reported to be smashing furniture.

He was not detained because the police were unsure about his diplomatic status. The foreign ministry said it was letting the Libyan authorities know of its unhappiness about "these repeated incidents."

Officials said Qaddafi held a diplomatic passport at the time of the alleged attack but was not a member of the Libyan embassy staff or on a diplomatic mission and therefore had no diplomatic immunity.

The decision to prosecute him for "voluntary violence against a vulnerable person" and "possessing and carrying an unauthorized weapon" was welcomed by Frederic Lagache, national secretary of the main police union, Alliance.

"We've been demanding that the rules be respected by everyone for some time. Nobody can be above the law. We are very happy with the prosecutor's decision," he said.

Qaddafi is believed to have left France after the latest incident. A summons to appear in court in Paris will be issued in the next few days.

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