Libya urged Niger on Saturday to extradite former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Al-Saadi, saying his call for Libyans to prepare for a “coming uprising” threatened bilateral ties.
Niger responded that it could not hand over Al-Saadi, who fled south to the West African state in September last year as Libyan forces gain the upper hand over his father’s forces, because he would face execution in Libya.
However, officials in Libya and Niger said that the Niger authorities had placed tighter restrictions on Al-Saadi’s movements and agreed that Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ashour Bin Hayal would meet his Niger counterpart to discuss the issue.
In a telephone call to al-Arabiya TV late on Friday, Al-Saadi said that he was in regular contact with people in Libya who were unhappy with the authorities put in place after the ousting and killing of his father.
“The council demands that the Niger government extradite Saadi and those who are with him to the Libyan authorities as soon as possible to maintain the relationship with the Libyan people,” Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy said, reading out a statement to reporters.
“They should follow the Algerian government which prevented Qaddafi’s daughter from making statements or causing any trouble from their land,” he said, adding that NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil had called Niger’s president to discuss Al-Saadi.
Algeria ordered members of Qaddafi’s family in exile on its territory to stay out of politics, after Qaddafi’s daughter, Ayesha, angered the Libyan government last year by telling the media her father was still fighting to hold onto power.
The Libyan News Agency LANA said Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs Bazoum Mohamed and his Libyan counterpart had spoken by telephone and quoted Bin Hayal as saying Al-Saadi’s comments “threaten the bilateral relationship between the two countries.”
Authorities in Niger said that their position on any future extradition of Al-Saadi had not changed.
“We will hand over Saadi Qaddafi to a government which has an independent and impartial justice system,” government spokesman Marou Amadou told a news conference.
“But we cannot hand over someone to a place where he could face the death penalty or where he is not likely to have a trial worthy of the name,” Amadou added.
He acknowledged that Al-Saadi’s comments violated a condition of his stay in Niger not to engage in subversion against the Libyan authorities.
Police sources in Niger said that supervision of Al-Saadi’s residence in the capital, Niamey, had been stepped up, but that he had not been formally arrested.