Muammar Qaddafi's son and one-time heir apparent reportedly poised for surrender
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the last of deceased Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's sons still at large, has reportedly asked to be transported to the International Criminal Court.
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Libya's National Transitional Council says that Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the last of Muammar Qaddafi's sons remaining at large and the late leader's one-time heir apparent, has requested safe passage out of the country so that he can turn himself over to the International Criminal Court.
Former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is also the subject of an international warrant, also reportedly wants to turn himself in. The surrender of both men could help the new Libya make a clean break with the Qaddafi era and ease the transition to a new political order.
According to an NTC official, Saif al-Islam is being sheltered by the nomadic Tuareg tribe that calls the border region home, Reuters reports. Others in his family escaped to Libya's southern neighbors through the same area. But taking refuge in another country is more difficult for Saif al-Islam because he is the subject of an international arrest warrant for crimes against humanity during the early stages of Libya's uprising.
If Saif al-Islam's willingness to surrender is confirmed, it would mark yet another reversal in his behavior. At the outset of Libya's uprising, he shocked the international community when he transformed from "an internationally well-connected philanthropist and liberal reformer" to "a soldier ready to die rather than capitulate," according to a separate Reuters report.
Previous to the uprising, he had been perceived as a reformer and "the acceptable, Western-friendly face of Libya," Reuters notes. Indeed, the dissertation he wrote while at the London School of Economics was titled, "The role of civil society in the democratization of global governance institutions."
In a New York Times profile of Saif al-Islam from 2010, he is credited with guiding the country toward nuclear disarmament and mending ties with the West. He made repeated calls for a democracy in Libya and rejected an offer to take over leadership of a group of local leaders.