Sunday 18 March 2018

In Profile: Libyan dictator's son Saif Gaddafi

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been sentenced to death over killings in the 2011 uprising (AP)
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been sentenced to death over killings in the 2011 uprising (AP)

Saif al-Islam was once widely regarded as Muammar Gaddafi's heir apparent.

The second of Col Gadaffi’s nine children, he has a PhD from the London School of Economics.

He was once regarded as the face of reforms of the Libyan government, playing a major role in his country's resumption of harmonious relations with the West between 2000 and the 2011 uprising.

Mr Gaddafi was caught on November 19, 2011, a month after his father died after being caught by rebel forces in his home town of Sirte.

His father, who originally took power in a 1969 coup, was overthrown after weeks of protests that saw the army open fire on demonstrators in Benghazi and rebels take control of several cities.

Saif al-Islam and Gaddafi were the subject of International Criminal Court arrest warrants for crimes against humanity in 2011 and the government was defeated months later by rebels with Nato support.

A court in Tripoli passed the sentence today in absentia after finding Saif al-Islam guilty of orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture and the bombardment of civilians during the 2011 Arab Spring.

Libya has been in a state of chaos since the Arab Spring, with two rival governments seemingly powerless to stop the state of conflict and lawlessness sweeping the country as Isis, Islamists and other militias fiht for territory.

Its elected parliament and government is cornered in the country's east, with little power on the ground, while an Islamist militia-back ed government in the west has seized Tripoli.

Mr Gaddafi, whose first names mean Sword of Islam, always denied that he was seeking to inherit power from his father, saying the reins of power were "not a farm to inherit".

Independent News Service

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