March 28, 2013 (TSR-Middle East Online) – Oman has granted asylum to some members of Muammar Gaddafi’s family, two of whom are wanted by Interpol, an Omani official said on Monday.
The move comes in coordination with the Libyan government and the Algerian government following a pledge by the Gaddafi family that they will not use Oman as a base for political or media activity.
Algeria said last week that the widow of the late Libyan leader and three of his children had left its territory long ago, without saying where they had gone.
Members of Gaddafi family had sought refuge in Algeria in 2011 after Libyan rebels reached the capital Tripoli during the armed uprising that ended his 42-year rule.
“Gaddafi’s wife, two sons and a daughter, as well as their children have been in Oman since October last year,” an Omani government official said on condition of anonymity.
“We have already accepted their request for asylum provided they don’t engage in political activities,” the official added.
The Omani official said that apart from Gaddafi’s widow Safia, his daughter Aisha and sons Mohammed and Hannibal were among those granted asylum.
Aisha and Hannibal are wanted by Interpol following a request from the Libyan authorities, but there is no international warrant for Mohammed or Safia.
Omani local daily Al-Shabiba said on Monday that some members of Gaddafi’s family have been in Oman since October.
It cited a foreign ministry official saying that the Gulf state did not want to “show off” with an action prompted by “humanitarian” motives.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz confirmed in Qatar that some members of Gathafi’s family have moved from Algeria to Oman, saying an official announcement by the three countries was due to be issued later.
“Oman is a sovereign country and has the right, just like other countries, to receive asylum seekers and members of the political opposition,” Abdelaziz told journalists in Doha ahead of an Arab summit due to convene on Tuesday.
“All we ask of the countries that host these, be it the family or supporters of the former regime … not to be a negative factor in the path of the revolution,” he added.
Asked if Libya would demand their extradition, he said: “It is too soon to talk about this.”
Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, captured by rebels more than a year ago, appeared in a Libyan court for the first time in January. Libya wants to try him and other former Gaddafi-era officials itself, although Saif al-Islam has been indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
Another of Gaddafi’s sons, Saadi, fled to Niger at the end of the revolt in which his father was overthrown and killed.
Three of Gaddafi’s sons, Mutassim, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed during the conflict in separate incidents.
Gaddafi himself was killed in his hometown of Sirte in October 2011.