Muammar Gaddafi's son and heir apparent Saif al-Islam has been detained in the southern desert, Libya's interim justice minister and other officials said on Saturday.
They said Saif al-Islam and several bodyguards, but no other senior figures from the ousted administration, had been taken into custody near the town of Obari, by fighters based in the western mountain town of Zintan.
"We have arrested Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in the Obari area," Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagy confirmed, adding that the 39-year-old, who is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, at The Hague was not injured.
Another senior official in the executive of the National Transitional Council (NTC) told Reuters that the interim government was still checking the details of what had happened.
There was no word of the other official wanted by the ICC, former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.
The International Criminal Court said Saturday that its chief prosecutor will travel to Libya next week for talks with the country's transitional government on where Seif al-Islam will be tried.
Saif al-Islam with supporters near Tripoli (Photo: Reuters)
Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that while national governments have the right to try their own citizens for war crimes, he is concerned that Gaddafi – the only wanted member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large – will have a fair trial and that he be tried for the same charges he faces at the ICC.
'He will face justice'
"The good news is that Seif al-Islam is arrested, he is alive, and now he will face justice," Ocampo said in an interview Saturday in The Hague.
Saif al-Islam had long drawn Western favor in by touting himself as a liberalizing reformer in the autocratic regime but then staunchly backed his father in his brutal crackdown on rebels in the regime's final days.
He had gone underground after Tripoli fell to revolutionary forces and issued audio recordings to try to rally support for his father.
Marek Marczynski of Amnesty International urged the governing National Transitional Council to transfer Seif al-Islam to the ICC base in the Netherlands as soon as possible.
"The ICC has an arrest warrant out for him and that is the correct thing to do. He must be brought before a judge as soon as possible," he said. "It matters for the victims. What they need to see is true justice. They need to know the truth about what happened."
Libya's prime minister officially announced the capture of Gaddafi's son on Saturday, calling it the "crowning" of the uprising's efforts and promising a fair trial for Saif al-Islam, who was captured in the southern desert.
"We assure Libyans and the world that Saif al-Islam will receive a fair trial ... under fair legal processes which our own people had been deprived of for the last 40 years," Abdurrahim El-Keib said.
News of al-Islam's capture broke as fighters from Zintan, a powerful faction among the many armed groups currently dominating Libya while the NTC tries to form a new government, started celebrating in Tripoli.
Bashir Thaelba, a Zintan field commander who had called a news conference on another issue, told reporters in the capital that Gaddafi would be held in Zintan until there was a government to hand him over to. The government is due to be formed within days.
"The rebels of Zintan announce that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been arrested along with three of his aides today," Thaelba said in remarks carried on Libyan television. "We hope at this historical moment that the future of Libya will be bright."
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said Saturday that he was "feeling fine." Asked by Reuters correspondent Marie-Louise Gumuchian on the plane which flew him to the town of Zintan if he was feeling all right, Gaddafi said simply: "Yes."
AP and Reuters contributed to this report
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