By George Grant.
Tripoli, 12 June:
The NTC’s official spokesman has insisted that detained International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer Melinda . . .[restrict]Taylor “will be free” if she divulges the location of Saif Qaddafi’s right-hand man, Mohammed Ismail.
In a remarkable exchange with ABC reporter Michael Vincent, Mohammed Harizi also claimed that Taylor was overheard telling Saif “you are not guilty” and was found to be in possession of GPS coordinates written by Ismail.
The authenticity of this claim has not been verified and it is also not clear to what location the alleged coordinates referred.
Prior to the revolution, Mohammed Ismail was one of Saif Qaddafi’s closest aides and a man known to have wielded considerable influence within the Qaddafi regime. Harizi has said that “it’s this man the Libyan government really wants”, and he believes Taylor knows where he is.
“She had papers from him”, Harizi said. “That means she saw him anywhere, I don’t know where. She saw him anywhere.
“We don’t have anything against this woman. We just we need some information from her. After that she will be free.”
Taylor is part of a four-person legal team appointed by the ICC to defend Saif Qaddafi. All four were arrested following Taylor’s meeting with Saif last Thursday.
Prior to the meeting, it is understood that the Zintan militia holding Saif insisted that an “old man” also be present in the room, a condition to which Taylor allegedly agreed.
What Taylor did not realise, according to Harizi, is that the old man understood English perfectly.
The arrest of Taylor and her companions has sparked international condemnation from a number of senior figures. Last Saturday, the president of the ICC, Sang-Hyun Song called on the Libyan authorities “to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them”.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also called on the Libyan government to “expedite the end of Ms Taylor’s detention”. Taylor is an Australian national.
As representatives of the ICC, all four of the detained legal team have diplomatic immunity, which is intended to shield them from arrest or prosecution under a host country’s laws.
The team is currently being held in a prison in Zintan, and will be detained for 45 days whilst investigations are carried out, according Ajami al-Atiri, commander of the Zintan brigade.