Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam gives brief television interview

Published: Nov. 6, 2013 at 9:02 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of ousted Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, said in a brief TV interview his health is good and he has visited with family members.

The interview, conducted and first broadcast by al-Assema television, consisted of three questions agreed upon in advance by Gadhafi and his lawyer, the Libya Herald reported Wednesday.

Asked about his heath and whether he was visited by human rights organizations and family members, he said, "Yes. Thanks be to God."

When asked about whether he wanted to be tried in Zintan, not Tripoli, he asked whether Zintan was still part of Libya. Told it was, Gadhafi replied, "Well there you are then," and signaled the interview was over.

The Zintan militia has refused to turn al-Islam over to officials in Tripoli in what the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph has reported is a bid to extract concessions from the national government and an effort to prevent suspected remnants of the former regime from freeing the prisoner. The newspaper said al-Islam's stated request in court to be tried in the western city may have been made under duress.

A Libyan court filed charges against 20 former officials in Gadhafi's regime, including the younger Gadhafi, for their roles in suppressing and killing protesters in 2011.

The son's preference to be tried in Libya is new, the Herald said. Previously, his lawyers appointed by the International Criminal Court, said Gadhafi wanted to be tried at The Hague because he didn't believe he could get a fair trial in Libya.

Libya is contesting an ICC demand that Gadhafi be turned over to international court officials.

The Herald said the ICC said it believed Gadhafi's former security chief, Abdullah Senussi, will receive a fair trial in Libya, a decision Senussi's ICC legal team has appealed even as his trial begins in Tripoli.

Besides the charges filed in Libya, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and Senussi face war crimes charges before the ICC.

Moammar Gadhafi died in October 2011, caught in cross-fire as rebel forces battled in Misurata.

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