He is now among his uncles and relatives in the eastern Libyan city of al-Bayda, according to local reports.
After five years of detention in a mountain prison, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been released from detention as part of an amnesty deal. He is now among his uncles and relatives in the eastern Libyan city of al-Bayda, according to local reports.
Gaddafi was released late Saturday, according to the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, a militia in control of Zintan, which lies in the hills southwest of the capital Tripoli. The group is loyal to General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. United States Marine Corp General Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, has accused Haftar of being backed by the Russian Federation.
A senior official from the brigade told France 24 in March that Gaddafi will likely play a large role in the country’s future.
Saif al-Islam, who is 44 years old, gained prominence as a high-ranking official and spokesman during the NATO-backed insurgency against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. During the clashes, Gaddafi spoke to the press frequently, flexing his fluent English-language skills when speaking to Western media outlets and speaking defiantly against the concerted attempt to topple the government his father led.
An alleged “humanitarian intervention” of limited scope meant to ostensibly protect anti-government protesters and armed groups, the campaign rapidly became a “regime change” effort that led to the dramatic downfall of Muammar Gaddafi and Libya’s plunge into all-out civil war, anti-Black ethnic cleansing and the transformation of the North African country into a base for various transnational extremist factions such as al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and the Libyan Islamic Fighting group.
“Everyone wants to become a Sheikh and an Emir, we are not Egypt or Tunisia so we are in front of a major challenge,” Saif al-Islam said in February 2011, as the government was crumbling.
“There will be a war and no future … Remember my words. 200 billion dollars of projects are now underway, they won’t be finished.”
“You can say we want democracy and rights, we can talk about it, we should have talked about it before,” he added.
“Instead of crying over 200 deaths we will cry over hundreds of thousands of deaths. You will all leave Libya, there will be nothing here. There will be no bread in Libya, it will be more expensive than gold.”
“Be ready for a new colonial period from American and Britain,” Gaddafi added.
Saif al-Islam was captured by the Zintan rebels in November 2011 while attempting to flee to Nigeria after opposition forces captured Tripoli. While he was sentenced to death in July 2015 in a mass trial for officials in the toppled government founded by his father, he was later relieved of the sentence in the general amnesty that was subsequently passed.
Gaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in the killing of protesters. The court has largely been discredited across the African continent as a neocolonial tool of Western capitals.
Last October, Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang noted that the ICC is, “in fact, an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans.”
Last month, pan-Arab English newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that Saif al-Islam narrowly survived an attempt on his life, when gunmen allegedly confronted authorities at a prison where he was being held and demanded the reinstatement of the death penalty.
Libya has been mired in chaos and all-sided conflict since the fall of the Gadaffi government, as sundry groups of armed brigands and Islamic extremists, backed by a range of foreign forces, have sought to establish fiefdoms in the face of eroded central authority.
The partition and carve-up of Libya and its end as a unified state has long been discussed as a remedy to the ongoing violence and instability in the country.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi 2011: “Our big mistake was to stop in buying new weapons and delay in build a strong army”