By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 9 March 2014:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan assured the Libyan public that there had been no . . .[restrict]deal over the handing over of Saadi Qaddafi from Niger.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, the Prime Minister explained that Libya has been engaged with Niger over the handing over of Saadi over a twelve-month period. Zeidan revealed that he had met the head of Niger five to six times and discussed the issue.
The Niger authorities had been adamant that unless they had reason to hand him over, he would be kept in Niger. Zeidan said that he had obtained assurances from Niger that Saadi would not be allowed to travel to South Africa and that he had stressed to Niger that such a move would be deemed as an aggressive act against Libya.
Meanwhile, Zeidan explained that the Libyan intelligence services had launched a drive to gather evidence of Saadi’s unfriendly political activities against Libya. The Prime Minister took time to praise the work of the head of Libyan intelligence Salam Al-Hassi for his work.
Once Libya had gathered adequate intelligence, it was handed over to Niger, who kept to their word, Zeidan explained, and handed Saadi over. All they asked for were assurances that he would receive a fair trial, Zeidan revealed.
“There was no deal. No payment. No aid”, Zeidan said emphatically. Niger itself refused to even talk about aid, he stressed.
The Prime Minister also refuted rumours that there was an attempt by the government to keep a media blackout on the news. “As soon as I was informed that he was on the plane at around 3.30 am I tried to inform the Libyan News Agency (LANA), but since no one was awake at that hour, I personally telephoned Mr Mahmoud Shamam (the owner of the Qatar-based Libya Al-Ahrar TV station), Zeidan revealed.