Friday, 3 December 2010
Qadhafi's chief aide arrested in France
Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's chief aide has been arrested in France. Nuri Al-Mismari was arrest on 28th November at the request of Libyan authorities, and presented to the French prosecutor's offices in Versailles the next day. He will be detained while awaiting a formal extradition request from Libya.
On Monday, the Libyan regime publically acknowledged al-Mismari's defection. A number of sources close to Qadhafi said that al-Mismari dissented from the regime and left for Tunisia before eventually fleeing to France.
The French authorities arrested al-Mismari on charges of financial violations and squandering of public funds filed by Libyan authorities. Al-Mismari is the first Libyan official to defect from the regime. According to a number of sources al-Mismari fled Libya for fear of being apprehended by the authorities. It is believed that al-Mismari became privy to a bill of indictment detailing charges against him in preparation for his arrest.
Al-Mismari travelled to Tunisia on official business, and then absconded to France where he has reportedly submitted an official request for political asylum. He refused to return to Libya, sending a message to Qadhafi, via a Qatari official, stipulating conditions for his return.
There has been no official announcement by the Libyan authorities about the ramifications of al-Mismari's defection. However, one Libyan news agency has disseminate news of his arrest, saying that a prominent Libyan official has been arrested in France after Libya had submitted a request to the French authorities to remand him in custody in response to an arrest warrant issued by Tripoli.
It has emerged, that shortly after al-Mismari's defection the Libyan authorities imposed a semi-house arrest on his family preventing his wife and daughter from travelling abroad to join him.
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.