November 22, 2011 / 6:25 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-ICRC says has visited Gaddafi son in prison

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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had visited Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in detention in Libya on Tuesday.

“The ICRC visited Saif al-Islam Gaddafi this afternoon in Zintan. He appeared to be in good health,” ICRC spokesman Steven Anderson told Reuters.

He declined to name the detention centre in Zintan, in the Western Mountains region, or give further details on the visit to Muammar Gaddafi’s son and one-time heir apparent who was captured by Libyan fighters in the southern desert on Saturday.

The visit was in keeping with the ICRC’s standard procedures, which include the right to interview detainees in private and make follow-up visits, Anderson said.

“The visit was one of many being conducted by ICRC delegates (officials) to people detained in Libya for the purpose of monitoring the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive,” he said.

The independent humanitarian agency has visited some 8,500 detainees in nearly 60 places of detention in Libya since the conflict began, most of them in the past three months, he said.

In exchange for access, its confidential findings on conditions of custody and treatment of prisoners are given only to detaining authorities. The ICRC also carries messages between inmates and their families.

Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general, told a news conference on Monday that the agency had asked Libyan authorities to be allowed to visit Saif al-Islam in prison and that he was a person who needed “protection”.

Muammar Gaddafi and another son Mo’tassim, the former national security adviser, were captured and killed in Sirte on Oct. 20 in unclear circumstances that led U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay and others to call for a full investigation.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), conceded on Tuesday that Saif al-Islam may be tried in Libya rather than at the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, which has indicted him for crimes against humanity. This means that he faces the death penalty if convicted. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

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