The Niger government today announced that they have granted Saadi Gadhafi, the 38 year old son of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, asylum on humanitarian grounds. They have also granted asylum to all Libyans who flee into Niger so long as they don’t engage in “political or subversive activities.”
Saadi was a former soccer player of some note, and was reported captured by the National Transitional Council (NTC), though it later turned out to be false. His exact role within the Libyan Civil War was unclear, as he was reportedly involved in a number of attacks on civilians but also claimed to be “neutral” in offering to negotiate a ceasefire.
Interpol has sought Saadi’s extradition on allegations that he was involved in “armed intimidation” when he was running the Libyan soccer federation. The Niger government’s announcement today underscores that they don’t intend to hand him over.
Niger’s government was on extremely good terms with the Gadhafi regime, and has been a popular place for troops and supporters of the old regime to flee with the installation of the new NATO-backed NTC faction.