Saif Islam Qaddafi freed in Libya ?

nsnbc : Saif Islam Qaddafi, the son of the late Libyan leader Col Muammar Qaddafi, has reportedly been freed from by the militia in Zintan that has kept him imprisoned – but also protected him, since he was captured in 2011, on his way to Niger.

Said Islam Qaddafi in Zintan, 2016 (archives)

Said Islam Qaddafi in Zintan, 2016 (archives)

Al-Ajmal Al-Atiri, the commander of Abubakr Al-Siddiq brigade in Zintan, reportedly confirmed that Saif Islam Qaddafi has been released. nsnbc has not yet been able to independently verify his release. Said has been held as prisoner by the Abubakr Al-Siddiq brigade since he was captured in 2011.

However, the brigade also provided a degree of protection for Saif, who was both wanted by the government and court in Tripoli, by Islamists, as well as by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The brigade could have released Saif as a response to a call by the House of Representatives (HoR) to release political prisoners and for courts to adhere to human rights. So far, however, it needs to be stressed that nsnbc could not independently verify that he was released.

Until his whereabouts can be verified, he could either still be in Zintan, free or in captivity, or elsewhere. Given the fact that security for Saif has been and remains a concern, it is unlikely that he, or those who may be holding or protecting him now, would carelessly reveal his whereabouts.

Saif attending a Tripoli court session via video link (2014 archives)

Saif attending a Tripoli court session via video link (2014 archives)

In May 2016 the Zintan military council dismissed as completely false claims by the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fateh Bensouda that Saif had survived an assassination attempt and that he had been handed over to it by Al-Atiri’s brigade.

At the end of the month Saif was reportedly visited by the Beida government’s under-secretary for justice, Eisa Alsaghir who insisted that Saif he was already a free man. The statement is consistent with reports nsnbc has received in 2016, according to which Saif was released and could move “relatively freely” in Zintan. Alsaghir said that in the view of the Thinni government Saif  was at liberty to go where he wanted.

Saif was born in Tripoli in 1972 as the second son to Col Muammar Qaddafi. Saif was known for his work in Libyan foreign policy and Libya’s foreign economic affairs. During the so-called Arab Spring in 2011 the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest.

He left the capital Tripoli as the city fell into the hands of  Islamist “rebels” including the Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), led by Abdelhakim Belhadj, and with the support of NATO and GCC members’ air forces and special forces.

It is worth recalling that Libya, prior to the clearly foreign-backed “Arab Spring” and developments since then that have turned Libya into a failed states, ranked first among African countries on the UN’s social development index.

F/AK – nsnbc 11.06.2017

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