TRIPOLI- A delegation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) will on Tuesday visit two of their colleagues detained in a Libyan town on allegations they handed suspicious documents to Muammar Gaddafi’s incarcerated son, a Libyan legal source said.
Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and Lebanese-born interpreter Helene Assaf were detained in the town of Zintan at the weekend after they met Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, subject of a tussle between the ICC and Libya over where he will face trial.
Human rights groups, the court in The Hague, and the Australian government have all demanded that the pair be released immediately, but Libyan prosecutors say they will be held for at least 45 days while they are investigated.
“Yesterday they (the visiting ICC delegation) held meetings at the prosecutor general’s office and with the deputy foreign minister, these were positive meetings,’ the source said. “Today they will go to Zintan.”
The source said the ICC delegation was scheduled to meet senior Libyan officials back in the capital, Tripoli, later on Tuesday to discuss their next steps.
Saif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC for crimes during the uprising that ended his father’s 42-year rule last year. Libya’s new rulers insist he should be tried in his home country.
Saif al-Islam is being held in Zintan by a local militia that captured him in November. An ICC team, including Taylor and Assaf, was meeting him under an arrangement with the Libyan authorities for him to have access to ICC-appointed defence lawyers.
Officials in Zintan said that during the meeting the pair were caught passing documents to Saif al-Islam from his fugitive right-hand man Mohammed Ismail, and that afterwards they were found to be carrying “spying and recording” equipment.