Gadhaf Al-Dam file destroyed in 'suspicious' court building blaze: Source

Ahram Online, Thursday 4 Apr 2013

Documents relating to Gadhaf Al-Dam – cousin of slain Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi wanted by Benghazi – are reportedly destroyed in Thursday court building blaze; Justice minister calls fire 'suspicious'

The Ahmed Gadhaf Al-Dam file was among the many documents destroyed by a fire that broke out in the South Cairo Criminal Court in the capital's Bab El-Khalq district on Thursday, a judicial source told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website.

Al-Dam was a close aide and cousin of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The criminal court's prosecution office was severely damaged by the fire, which broke out on Thursday morning. According to Al-Ahram, the blaze destroyed everything inside the building and caused the ceiling to collapse.

On Wednesday, Egypt's Administrative Court ruled against Al-Dam's extradition to Libya, where he is wanted by the country's post-revolution leadership for alleged crimes during Gaddafi's rule.

Al-Dam, who claims to have Egyptian citizenship, has requested political asylum in Egypt.

According to the judicial source, Al-Dam is under investigation by Central Cairo prosecutors. He has been accused by authorities of resisting arrest, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and the attempted murder of a police officer during arrest.

Egyptian Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, meanwhile, said Thursday's fire "raises suspicions."

The fire destroyed the third floor of the court building, including five administrative offices containing files of important lawsuits.

Earlier on Thursday, the office of the prosecutor-general released a statement in which it asserted that documents relating to lawsuits connected with Egypt's revolution had not been destroyed in the conflagration.

In an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu, Mekki said that extensive efforts were being made to find copies of destroyed documents. He also said that the court was considering the launch of an electronic database for legal documents.

On 11 March, a fire erupted on the tenth floor of the headquarters of Egypt's Administrative Control Authority (ACA) in Cairo's Nasr City district.

The ACA is a major government watchdog, responsible for monitoring government performance. Its headquarters were thought to contain critical documents related to major corruption cases.

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