Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been released from prison by an armed group in the country’s western city of Zintan.
The armed group loyal to the eastern-based authorities announced on Saturday that Saif Al-Islam was released last Friday and then left Zintan. His current whereabouts remain unknown.
No official statement has been issued regarding Saif’s release by either of Libya’s rival governments. He had been held captive since 2011 by a militia group in Zintan, a town located to the southwest of the capital Tripoli.
He was accused of incitement to violence and murdering protesters during the 2011 unrest that toppled his father’s regime. Muammar Gaddafi was killed after he was captured by rebel fighters in 2011. A court in Tripoli sentenced Saif, who was once widely considered as his father’s heir before the political turmoil, to death along with some other officials of the former regime in 2015. However, the eastern-based parliament granted him amnesty shortly after the sentence.
Saif is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity committed during unsuccessful attempts to suppress the 2011 unrest. However, the militia refused to hand him over to the ICC.
Libya remains politically divided after six years of conflicts with two competing parliaments and governments, one based in Tripoli and the other in the eastern port city of Tobruk. With mediation efforts of the international community, political rivals signed a UN-sponsored peace agreement in December 2015 which led to the establishment of the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and based in Tripoli.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro