Middle East

Gaddafi aide surrenders after Cairo firefight

Former intelligence official, suspected of committing offenses during the Libyan war, will be handed over to Interpol.
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013 17:30
Egyptian police issued warrant for Qaddaf al-Dam's arrest after Interpol issued "red notice'' to extradite him to Libya [AFP]

A close aide and a cousin of Libya's former dictator Muammar Gaddafi has surrendered to Egyptian security forces following an hours-long siege of his home in central Cairo. 

The Egyptian
state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) said on Tuesday that the investigation forces , the public security and special opertions forces had surrounded Qaddaf al-Dam's home in the Cairo neighbourhood of Zamalek before dawn.

Shots were fired during the siege, but witnesses gave conflicting reports as to whether Qaddaf al-Dam opened fire in the air to drive police away or police had fired the shots as they tried to storm the building.

There were no injuries reported. 

Egyptian authorities issued a warrant for Qaddaf al-Dam's arrest after Interpol issued a "red notice'' to extradite him to Libya to face corruption charges, along with former Libyan ambassador Ali Mahmoud Maria and former government official Mohamed Ali Ibrahim.

Egyptian police arrested Maria and Ibrahim on Tuesday in other neighbourhoods of Cairo. They surrendered without resistance.

Officials said Qaddaf al-Dam may face prosecution by Egyptian authorities for resisting arrest.

'Not terrorists'

Last year, Libya's general prosecutor had requested that Egypt hand over 40 Libyans affiliated with Gaddafi's regime suspected of committing offenses during the eight-month war.

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In addition to Qaddaf al-Dam, the list included former Foreign Minister Ali Al-Treki and military intelligence chief Bouzeid Al-Jabou.

During the siege, Qaddaf al-Dam said in a phone call to a private TV channel that he had been invited to Cairo by the military council that took over after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

He described security forces as "a gang'.'

"We came here with an invitation from the Foreign Ministry and the military council ... We are not terrorists to be ambushed like this,'' he said.

"We will defend our house until the end.''

Human rights  

Mubarak, who like Gaddafi was ousted by a 2011 Arab Spring uprising, had close ties to the former Libyan leader.

Human rights groups said Cairo allowed Libyan intelligence to kidnap the anti-Gaddafi opposition, notably dissident Mansour Kikhia who disappeared in 1993. Kikhia was said to have later been 
killed. His remains were located in a house in Tripoli in September.

Even after Mubarak's overthrow, Cairo appeared reluctant to hand over wanted Gaddafi officials, possibly because they had ties with Egypt's intelligence and security apparatus or investments in the country.

The move against Qaddaf al-Dam comes shortly after a visit to Cairo of Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zidan, in which he met with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi.

According to reports in the Egyptian media, Zidan demanded that Egypt hand over wanted men in return for the encouragement of Libyan investment in Egypt and easing the entrance of Egyptian workers to Libya.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians work in Libya. Tensions rose in past weeks after Libyan armed men arrested scores of Egyptian Christians who were accused of spreading Christianity.

After their release, the Christians said they were tortured while in detention.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry protested the arrests and Christians demonstrated outside Libya's embassy in Cairo.


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