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Libya: Gadhafi Family Members Arrive in Algeria

A convoy of Mercedes vehicles apparently carried the Gadhafi family into Algeria, and now the Libyan rebels who control much of the country want them returned to face trial.

Libya’s de facto government considers Algeria’s sheltering of members of Muammar Gaddafi’s family an act of aggression and will seek their extradition, a National Transitional Council spokesman said on Monday.

“We have promised to provide a just trial to all those criminals and therefore we consider this an act of aggression,” spokesman Mahmoud Shamman told Reuters.

“We are warning anybody not to shelter Gaddafi and his sons. We are going after them in any place to find them and arrest them,” he said.

Out of all of Libya’s neighbors, Algeria is the only one which hasn’t recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government. So if Algeria continues to harbor members of Gadhafi’s family against the wishes of the TNC, we could see unrest spill over into another country, although it’s hard to envision how that would actually take place. For one, the TNC has the problem of providing needed aid to Tripoli’s residents. It’s hard to see them taking resources away from that at this early stage, when they are not fully trusted throughout the country, to chase Gadhafi’s family in Algeria.

Elsewhere in Libya, massacre sites continue to be found in Tripoli, where political prisoners and other civilians were slaughtered by Gadhafi’s forces just before the rebels arrived in the capital. Rebels are still battling for control of Sirte, one of the last strongholds. Instead of dropping bombs in support of the raid on Sirte, perhaps NATO could drop food and water and medicine to the people who desperately need it.

And Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the so-called Lockerbie bomber, has been found in a coma by CNN’s Nic Robertson. It’s a pretty compelling story, available at the link. Al-Megrahi has maintained his innocence for years.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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