Britain’s closest ally in the Gulf has secretly granted political asylum to the surviving family of Colonel Gaddafi, it emerged today.
News of the Libyans’ arrival in Oman coincides with a visit by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to the country last week.
Gaddafi’s widow Safia, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammad and Hannibal, as well as their children, have all been living there since October 2012.
They have been granted asylum on ‘humanitarian grounds’ and their expenses are being covered entirely by the Omani government.
This is despite all members of the family having deeply controversial pasts, having once shared all the wealth and privilege enjoyed by the tyrant, who was deposed and killed in 2011.
Hannibal Gaddafi was renowned for his abuse of servants, and for once allegedly beating up his wife in a suite at Claridge’s Hotel in central London.
Aisha Gaddafi, a qualified lawyer, notoriously defended dictators like her father around the world, including deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The pair are both currently wanted on Interpol arrest warrants issued at the request of Libya’s new democratic government.
The Gaddafi family’s luxurious lifestyle in Libya came to an end during the revolt against the despot, which was supported by RAF bombing raids sanctioned by David Cameron.
Since Gaddafi’s demise, there have been fears that family members will revive his legacy, and return to the blighted North African country to try and gain power again.
The dictator’s three children first fled to Algeria in August 2011, and had been living there until they moved to Oman.
Late last year, Arab media started reporting rumours that all four had left the area – and last week this was confirmed by Algeria’s ambassador to Libya.
Asked why the Omani government had only just admitted harbouring the family, a foreign ministry source said: ‘There was no need for the world to know about this humanitarian gesture.’
Oman has close historical political and military ties with Britain, and its leader, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, was educated at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, before joining the British Army.
Charles and Camilla enjoyed a three-day visit to Oman this month, where they were personal guests of the Sultan.