Jay Deshmukh, AFP
Last updated: 28 November, 2011

Doctor says gangrene threat to Seif al-Islam wound

Seif al-Islam, the son of slain Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, could develop gangrene if his wound is not treated, the Ukrainian doctor who examined the high-profile captive told AFP on Monday.

“His injury is serious but when I saw him it was not gangrenous. If not treated it can become” so, said Andrei Murakhovsky, who dressed Seif’s wounded right hand the day after his capture in southern Libya on November 19.

Murakhovsky expressed concern over Seif’s health after noting that he has not seen him since the initial medical visit on November 20.

“I was called by the military council. I cleaned the wound and dressed it. But it needs to be dressed again. The military council chief said they will call me again… But they still have not (called),” Murakhovsky said.

Seif sustained the injury to his right hand in an explosion a month before his capture, causing damage to his thumb, index and middle fingers, he added.

A National Transitional Council (NTC) official, meanwhile, said Murakhovsky was the only doctor to have treated Seif since his capture.

“It was the only time that a doctor visited him. It was Andrei (Murakhovsky). No doctor has visited him after that,” said Ibrahim Turki, the NTC’s health coordinator in the southern Libyan town of Zintan where Seif is being held.

Kadhafi’s son was seen by a team of representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross on November 22, a day after Murakhovsky, and a spokesman at the time said he “appeared to be in good health.”

The Red Cross officials met Seif for several hours in Zintan but refused to give details of the visit, saying only that the “organisation’s findings” would be “shared with the detaining authorities only.”

The first images of Seif broadcast on the Libyan television channel Al-Ahrar showed him with three bandaged fingers on his right hand.

Murakhovsky said Seif had told him that he was wounded during a NATO air strike, adding that Seif did “not allow me to check him in total. But no other injury was visible.”

Seif’s index finger and thumb “bone is broken and the tissue” is damaged, said Murakhovsky, adding that the “top portion of both fingers need to be amputated.”

He also said that his middle finger had a cut which was not serious.

Murakhovsky said that the inflammation on the fingers was “not transferable to other parts of the body but the wounds need to be treated,” adding that when he met Seif he appeared “calm and patient but a little scared.”

Seif al-Islam, 39, was Kadhafi’s most prominent son and was captured after more than three months on the run.

The international community, including world leaders, international human rights groups, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, have called on Libya’s new leaders to ensure Seif is given a fair trial and that he is treated in accordance with international laws and norms.

World powers, fearful that Seif might meet a brutal end like his father, who was executed after being captured, have been urging the Libyan leaders to work with the ICC.

On Friday, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the trial of Seif al-Islam, who is accused of crimes against humanity, could be held in Libya under ICC auspices.

Turki said the Libyan authorities will decide Seif’s fate and how long he would be held in Zintan.

“Seif is still here. He is being detained in the town. He is not a danger,” Turki said.

“We don’t know how long he will be held here. The authorities will decide what has to be done with him.”