BENGHAZI, LIBYA — Seif al-Islam, the son and one-time heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has been released after more than five years in detention, his captors said on Saturday.
Gaddafi was captured in southern Libya by the Zintan militia on 19 November 2011, after the end of the Libyan Civil War, and flown by plane to Zintan. He was sentenced to death on 28 July 2015 by a court in Tripoli for crimes during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, in a widely criticised trial conducted in absentia. He remained in the custody of the de facto independent authorities of Zintan.
In June 2017 his full amnesty was declared.
A statement by his captors, the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, said Seif al-Islam was released on Friday, but gave no details on his whereabouts. Battalion officials reached by The Africa Global Village contributor at Zintan, a town south of the capital Tripoli where it is based, confirmed his release. They declined to disclose his whereabouts, citing concerns over his safety.
They said his release was decided as part of a recent pardon issued by the Libyan parliament based in the country’s eastern region.
The parliament in the city of Tobruk is part of one of three rival administrations in Libya, evidence of the chaos that has prevailed in the country since Gadhafi’s ouster and death.
Gadhafi’s son was captured by the battalion’s fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled Gadhafi after more than 40 years in power. He was later killed.
The uprising later plunged the oil-rich North African nation into a ruinous civil war in which Seif al-Islam led Gadhafi’s loyalist forces against the rebels.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (Arabic: سيف الإسلام معمر القذافي; born 25 June 1972) is a former Libyan political figure. He is the second son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (who was overthrown and killed in 2011) and his second wife Safia Farkash. Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from London School of Economics.
He was a part of his father’s inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on his behalf. He publicly turned down his father’s offer of the country’s second highest post and held no official government position.
According to American State Department officials in Tripoli, during his father’s reign, he was the second most widely recognized person in Libya, being at times the “de facto” Prime Minister,and was mentioned as a possible successor, though he rejected this.
An arrest warrant was issued for him by the International Criminal Court for charges of crimes against humanity against the Libyan people, for torturing and killing civilians, a charge he denied.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi graduated with a bachelor of science degree in engineering science from Tripoli’s Al Fateh University in 1994. However, there is another report stating that he is an architect. He earned an MBA from Vienna’s IMADEC business school in 2000.
His paintings made up the bulk of the international Libyan art exhibit, “The Desert is Not Silent” (2002–2005), a show which was supported by a host of international corporations with direct ties to his father’s government, among them the ABB Group and Siemens.
Gaddafi was awarded a PhD degree in 2008 from the London School of Economics, where he attended amid a series of contacts between the school and the Libyan political establishment. He presented a thesis on “The role of civil society in the democratisation of global governance institutions: from ‘soft power’ to collective decision-making?” Examined by Meghnad Desai (London School of Economics) and Anthony McGrew (University of Southampton), among the LSE academics acknowledged in the thesis as directly assisting with it were Nancy Cartwright, David Held and Alex Voorhoeve (the son of former Dutch minister Joris Voorhoeve). Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University is also thanked for having read portions of the manuscript and providing advice and direction.
Furthermore, allegations abound that Saif’s thesis was in many parts ghost-written by consultants from Monitor Group, which pocketed $3 million per year in fees from Muammar Gaddafi.
Speaking in Sabha on 20 August 2008, Gaddafi said that he would no longer involve himself in state affairs. He noted that he had previously “intervene[d] due to the absence of institutions”, but said that he would no longer do so. He dismissed any potential suggestion that this decision was due to disagreement with his father, saying that they were on good terms. He also called for political reforms within the context of the Jamahiriya system and rejected the notion that he could succeed his father, saying that “this is not a farm to inherit”.
On 10 June 2017, he was released from prison in Zintan, according to a statement from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion