By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab and Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 19 March 2013:
Egypt has arrested Qaddafi’s cousin and leading aide, Ahmed Qaddaf Al-Dam, as well . . .[restrict]as at least two other Qaddafi regime figures wanted by Libya. Reports were circulating in Tripoli for much of the late morning, Tuesday, but were confirmed this evening by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
Speaking at a press conference this evening he said that former director of Libyan Radio and member of Qaddafi’s inner circle Ali al-Kilani as well as former Libyan ambassador Ali Marya had also been arrested.
Egyptian officials reported that Qaddaf Al-Dam was arrested this morning following a pre-dawn siege at his home in the fashionable Cairo district of Zamalek, not far from the Libyan embassy. He is said to have surrendered after a short gunfight in which three policemen were reportedly wounded.
According to the Egyptian news agency, he will be held for 30 days during which time Libya can file extradition charges. Officials said Qaddaf al-Dam may face further prosecution by Egyptian authorities for resisting arrest.
In addition to Qaddaf Al-Dam and Ali Marya, they said that another Qaddafi figure, Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, had also been detained. There may, however, have been some confusion over the name, and they may have been referring to Kilani.
Qaddaf Al-Dam had good connections in Egypt; he was coordinator of the Egyptian-Libyan relations under Qaddafi and this appears to have protected him until now.
Exactly a year ago, following a visit to Cairo by Libyan Attorney General Abdulaziz Al-Hasadi to demand that it hand over number of former Qaddafi officials, including Ahmed Qaddaf-Adam, Egypt said it was considering doing so.
Although the Egyptians have long known where he lived, nothing then happened until earlier this year. At the beginning of February, Egypt placed a travel ban on six Qaddafi regime figures in the country, preventing them from leaving. Qaddaf Al-Dam was said to be one of them, as was Mohamed Ibrahim Ali.
In June last year, it was reported that Al–Kilani had been expelled from Morocco and gone with his family to live in Alexandria.
He and Marya were reported to have been arrested elsewhere in Cairo, without resistance.
This evening Zeidan said he was in contact with the Egyptian government to work on the extradition of the men who, he said, would be well treated and receive a a fair trial. Thanking Al-Hasadi who resigned over the weekend as Attorney General, Zeidan said that he expected Qaddaf Al-Dam to fight the extradition moves.
Ali Zeidan was in Cairo a week and a half ago when he demanded the Egyptian government hand over the Libyan fugitives. It has been reported in the Egyptian press that, in return, Libya would invest in Egypt and ease restrictions on visas for Egyptians wanting to work here.
Zeidan appears to have been kept fully informed of the latest developments in advance. On Monday evening, a special envoy from Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil arrived in Tripoli to brief the prime minister on what was happening.
It is reported in Cairo that during the siege Qaddaf Al-Dam told Egyptian satellite TV channel Dream by telephone that he had been invited to the country by the military council that took power after President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.
“We came here with an invitation from the Foreign Ministry and the military council … We are not terrorists to be ambushed like this,” he is reported as saying. “We will defend our house until the end.” [/restrict]