Libyan Militia Captures Qaddafi’s Son, Saif al-Islam [Updated]

Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, listens to the Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov during a visit to the City Hall on June 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Saif al-Islam, when he wore suits and hadn’t yet taken to calling fellow Libyans rats. (MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: MAHMUD TURKIA/2011 AFP

The powerful Zintan militia claims to have captured Qaddafi’s son and onetime heir apparent, provoking another wave of jubilant street celebrations almost on par with those witnessed after Muammar Qaddafi was captured and killed. A photo broadcast on Libya Free TV shows Saif al-Islam leaning on a couch with bandaged fingers (injuries sustained prior to his capture) and a brown blanket thrown over his knees — his shiny bald pate and glasses reminders of the seemingly reasonable, Western-educated reformist he had been right up until the rebellion began. (After which he turned into a rabid, rifle-brandishing Qaddafi propaganda machine.)

Though Saif al-Islam is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, the fighters holding him say they are waiting for a formal government to be established, so that he can be tried at home. If all goes as planned, the Transitional National Council may start ceding power to a post-war administration as early as Tuesday — how it handles a trial for Saif al-Islam, now a symbol of the old regime, will be an early and revealing test of its authority. Speaking to reporters in Zintan, Libya’s interim prime minister already took the issue on, saying, “We assure Libyans and the world that Saif al-Islam will receive a fair trial.”

Update: Reuters just released a picture of a turbaned, bearded Saif al-Islam on a plane in Zintan, taken after his capture, and now the BBC has video of Saif on the plane. 

This post has been updated with additional information.

Qaddafi’s Son, Saif al-Islam, Captured