TRIPOLI: Slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son Saadi has asked Libyans for forgiveness in an interview released by prison authorities three weeks after his extradition from neighboring Niger.
The videotaped interview, which was aired by state television late Thursday, was filmed by wardens at the capital’s Al-Hadba prison, where Saadi Gadhafi and several other former regime figures are being held, with the blessing of the chief prosecutor, the broadcaster said.
Gadhafi, who was extradited to face a series of charges including “crimes to keep his father in power” before his overthrow in uprising of 2011, asked for the “forgiveness of the Libyan people and government.”
He admitted without elaborating that he had been behind “acts of destabilization against the country,” the same accusation repeatedly leveled against him by the Tripoli authorities in its long campaign for his extradition from Niger.
Gadhafi, whose extradition had been strongly opposed by human rights groups concerned that he might face torture in prison, said he had been well treated by his jailers.
“I want to reassure my family,” Gadhafi told the camera, adding that he was speaking Thursday evening.
“I am doing well, I am in good health and I am being very well treated,” he said, sitting at a desk in a blue prison uniform.
Gadhafi was best known as the head of Libya’s football federation and a player who paid his way into Italy’s top division.
The 40-year-old had been off the radar since fleeing in a convoy to Niger across Libya’s southern desert in September 2011.
After hanging up his football boots, he forged a military career, heading an elite unit. Days after the revolt began in the eastern city of Benghazi, he appeared by his father’s side in military uniform, an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.
Unlike his brothers, however, no information emerged during the eight-month uprising of him taking part in combat.
Gadhafi’s brother, Seif al-Islam, long their father’s right-hand man and heir apparent, is also in custody in Libya awaiting trial on a raft of more serious charges, which prompted the International Criminal Court to issue a warrant for his arrest for suspected war crimes.
Interpol had issued a “Red Notice” for Saadi Gadhafi, for “allegedly misappropriating properties through force and armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation.”
Libya had repeatedly called for Gadhafi’s extradition from Niger, which had granted him asylum on humanitarian grounds saying it had insufficient guarantees he would have a fair trial.
Niger said it handed over Gadhafi earlier this month, over the objections of human rights groups, because it no longer felt he would face the risk of extrajudicial killing, and because it wanted to improve ties with Libya.