Libyan government frees Gaddafi’s son from jail, cites need for reconciliation

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Libya’s prime minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah announced early on Monday that one of the sons of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi had been released from prison.

Al-Saadi Gaddafi, one of the eight children of Muammar Gaddafi, had been extradited from Niger in 2014 and was jailed in Libya.

In a tweet, Dbeibah announced “We cannot move forward without achieving reconciliation or establish a state without achieving justice, enforcing the law, respecting the principle of separation of powers and following judicial procedures and rulings. On this basis, the citizen ‘Al-Saadi Gaddafi’ was released today, in implementation of the release issued against him by the public prosecution.”

Associated Press reported al-Saadi had been released after being acquitted of charges dating to the time of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

Associated Press quoted a local website as saying al-Saadi had travelled to Turkey following his release.

The family of Muammar Gaddafi has been scattered since the start of the uprising against him in 2011, which led to the dictator’s killing later that year. “His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gaddafi was captured and slain. Two other sons, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising. Seif al-Islam, the one-time heir apparent to his father, has been in Libya since his release from detention in 2017. Another son, Hannibal, is reportedly detained in Lebanon. The rest of the children are still at large having sought asylum in neighbouring Algeria along with Gaddafi’s wife and al-Saadi’s mother, Safiya. The mother, a sister and two brothers were granted asylum in Oman in 2012 and moved there from Algeria,” Associated Press reported.

Al-Saadi was known for his association with football and his control of the country’s football league, which he headed. Al-Saadi also played for several Libyan teams and also an Italian team until he failed a drugs test.

“… security forces opened fire on fans at a 1996 match attended by al-Saadi, killing a number of people in murky circumstances. He is also suspected in the 2005 killing of Bashir al-Riyani, a popular Libyan soccer player who was a vocal critic of Gaddafi’s regime. Following his extradition, prosecutors in Libya said he faced charges in connection to abductions and rapes during the 2011 uprising, misuse of his post and the killing of al-Riyani,” Associated Press reported.

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