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.

Source: Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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