Crime claims against Qaddafi son were ignored

German officials buried numerous criminal allegations against ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's son Saif al-Arab for fear of damaging bilateral ties, the weekly Der Spiegel reported at the weekend.

Crime claims against Qaddafi son were ignored
Saif al-Arab Qaddafi - the correct picture. Photo: DPA

The foreign ministry told justice officials in Munich five times that investigations against Saif al-Arab Qaddafi, who studied there, could create diplomatic problems with Libya.

German police had opened 11 investigations into the former dictator’s son between 2006 and 2010, over allegations including arms trafficking, violence, driving without a licence and insulting a police officer.

But all the probes were blocked, with police suspecting German intelligence of thwarting their work, the magazine reported.

It said the Munich incidents were discussed in intelligence briefings in the chancellery several times.

Germany drew international criticism for refusing to take part in NATO military action against Quaddafi’s forces over the last few months.

This has been somewhat defused by a willingness to send materials and personnel to help the rebuilding effort, and last month’s reopening of the German embassy in Tripoli.

Members of Qaddafi’s former regime say that Saif al-Arab and three of Qaddafi’s grandchildren were killed in a NATO air strike on Tripoli on April 30, but Italian President Silvio Berlusconi has denied this.

AFP/The Local/hc

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.