Last updated: 19 March, 2013

Wanted cousin of Libya’s Kadhafi arrested in Cairo

Egyptian police arrested on Tuesday Moamer Kadhafi’s cousin Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, wanted by Tripoli for his role in the regime of the slain Libyan strongman, Egyptian officials said.

Egypt’s prosecutor general ordered Qaddaf al-Dam’s detention for 30 days pending investigation into “several charges,” a security official said.

Qaddaf al-Dam surrendered hours after his bodyguards traded fire with policemen who tried to enter his apartment, an aide said. Police then escorted Kadhafi’s former special envoy to the public prosecutor’s office.

In Tripoli, the Libyan prosecutor’s spokesman Taha Baara told AFP that Libya had issued an international arrest warrant for Qaddaf al-Dam for “forging documents”.

Two other figures, former Libyan ambassador Ali Maria and Mohammed Ibrahim, the brother of senior Kadhafi-era Libyan official Ahmed Ibrahim, were also arrested in Cairo for “financial crimes,” Baara said.

“The extradition of the three accused will take some time. Their file has to be examined by the Egyptian justice first,” he said. “Their arrest is only the first step. There are positive signs from Egypt’s judicial authorities.”

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told a news conference in Tripoli that Qaddaf al-Dam and former Kadhafi media chief Ali al-Kilani were among “several elements of the old regime” arrested in Cairo.

Zeidan urged Egyptian authorities to “step up the extradition procedure” and deport them to Libya where they are wanted for “hostile acts” against the uprising that toppled Kadhafi’s regime.

He also pledged a fair trial for the suspects.

Abdel Hamid al-Safi, an official at the Libyan embassy in Cairo, said the arrests were part of a “plan by the Libyan authorities in coordination with Egyptian authorities.”

It was not immediately clear whether Qaddaf al-Dam, whose mother was Egyptian, carried Egyptian nationality, which could complicate his transfer to Libya to stand trial.

A Libyan embassy official said he was certain Qaddaf al-Dam was not an Egyptian citizen before the 2011 uprising in which Kadhafi was toppled and killed.

But his nephew said he carried an Egyptian national identity card.

Reached on his mobile telephone shortly after being held, Qaddaf al-Dam sought to play down the arrest, and said he would file a complaint with the Egyptian public prosecutor and Libyan authorities.

“I am on my way now, in the company of lawyers,” he said.

A Libyan embassy official told AFP Qaddaf al-Dam had surrendered after the consul met him in his apartment and told him “there is no escape”. His bodyguards were Libyan and Palestinian, the official said.

A security official and state television said Qaddaf al-Dam gave himself up to police after they besieged his home. The official MENA news agency said he would be handed over to the Libyan authorities.

Shortly after the start of the uprising, Qaddaf al-Dam had announced he had resigned from all official functions.

Until then, he oversaw Libya’s relations with Egypt.

In a phone call to an Egyptian satellite channel from his apartment before his arrest, Qaddaf al-Dam said he had supported the Libyan revolution until the NATO intervention which he described as a “barbaric invasion”.

Kadhafi’s 1969 revolution was “the real revolution,” he said.

Qaddaf al-Dam said he came to Egypt at the invitation of the foreign ministry and had been provided with Egyptian security, some of whom he claimed had been wounded during the four-hour shootout.

Residents of Zamalek said they had heard gunfire overnight.

Qaddaf al-Dam’s nephew and aide said that “masked men” had tried to storm the apartment at 2:00 am.

“His bodyguards fired at them and there was an exchange of fire,” he said from the prosecutor’s office where Qaddaf al-Dam was being questioned. The nephew requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.