Media reports say that authorities in Libya have released Saadi Gaddafi, a son of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and killed during a 2011 uprising. According to Reuters news agency, a Libyan official on Sunday said 47-year-old Saadi immediately departed on a plane to Istanbul.
The former professional footballer was accused of crimes committed against protesters in 2011 and of killing Libyan football coach Bashir al-Rayani in 2005.
In 2018 the Justice Ministry said Saadi Gadhafi had been found not guilty of “murder, deception, threats, enslavement and defamation” of the former football coach and player Bashir Rayani. He was acquitted of al-Rayani’s murder in April 2018.
Reuters reports that an official source said his release resulted from negotiations that included senior tribal figures and Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, and that the negotiations additionally involved former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.
It is said that “the chief prosecutor asked, several months ago, for the execution of the decision relating to Saadi Gaddafi as soon as all the required conditions had been satisfied”. Libya has suffered chaos, division and violence since the 2011 uprising.
A ceasefire in 2020 ended factional fighting and paved the way for peace talks and the formation of a transitional government in March.
In July the New York Times newspaper said it had interviewed Saadi’s brother, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was held for years in the town of Zintan; his supporters indicate he will run in the upcoming presidential elections slated for December. Muammar Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, was captured and summarily executed on 20 October 2011 during the Battle of Sirte; three of his sons were also killed.