Gaddafi's son reportedly plans to run for presidential election

Young journalists club

News ID: 20939
Publish Date: 10:34 - 24 March 2018
TEHRAN, March 24 - The son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is thought to be planning to stand for election as president of Libya, seven years after his father was overthrown and killed.

Gaddafi's son reportedly plans to run for presidential electionTEHRAN,Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was sentenced, in absentia, to death by firing squad for alleged crimes that included incitement to murder and rape.

Now his spokesman has reportedly announced he will be standing as presidential candidate on the ticket of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya, a party formed in December 2016 with a promise to liberate the country “from control of terrorist organizations”.

Gaddafi’s spokesman Ayman Boras was quoted as telling a press conference in Tunisia that the late dictator’s second oldest son had a vision of “restoring the Libyan state, making it for everyone”.

Although his candidacy might seem improbable to outsiders, the human rights activist Khaled Guel told pan-Arab media outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “The humanitarian situation is deteriorating and the path forward is unclear, therefore many Libyans now believe the only way to save the country is through Saif al-Islam.”

There appear to be no legal barriers to him standing. A 2013 law banning Gaddafi-era officials from holding public office was revoked in 2015.

If he were elected it would represent yet another turn in the fortunes of the 45-year-old who as a young man was regarded as “the Prince of Libya”, his father’s designated successor.

He was once feted as the regime’s reforming face, keeping a pair of white tigers in Libya and a mansion in London, and mixing with the likes of Prince Andrew, Peter Mandelson and Nat Rothschild.

But his brutal attempts to crush the 2011 Libyan revolution led to him becoming a fugitive wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Having vowed to fight the revolution to the last bullet, in November 2011 he allowed rebels to capture him without firing a shot.

That he has now survived to the point where there can be talk of him running for Libyan president is perhaps remarkable.

It could be said that Gaddafi has so far cheated death at least five times.

His death sentence – for crimes that also included shooting into crowds of demonstrators and ordering air strikes on civilians – was passed in July 2015, by a Tripoli court at which he had appeared via video link.

The execution could not be carried out, however, because by the time the sentence was passed, the country had descended into chaos, and the militia holding Gaddafi in the north-western mountain town of Zintan refused to recognize the authority of the Libya Dawn military coalition 85 miles away in Tripoli.

The dictator’s son also appears to have been lucky to survive a Nato air strike that wounded but didn’t kill him a month before his capture.

Before that, in August 2011 he had been absent when a Nato air strike flattened the country mansion near Tripoli where he kept and played with white tigers and where the extensive grounds reportedly contained a private zoo filled with pumas, lions, gazelles and other animals.

Saif al-Islam also seems to have counted himself lucky to have avoided the fate of his father, who in October 2011 after the fall of Tripoli was dragged from a drainage pipe near Sirte, sodomised with a bayonet and shot.

When Saif al-Islam was caught the following month, one of his captors was quoted as saying: “He was very scared. He thought we would kill him.”

Years before that, Islamists had plotted to kill the young Gaddafi – but were foiled by MI6.

Secret files discovered by The Independent seven years ago showed that in January 2004 MI6 responded to intelligence about a plot to assassinate Saif al-Islam in London and got Special Branch to put him on its at-risk register while sending police to brief him about the threat to his life.

At that time Gaddafi junior was regarded by Western diplomats as the reform-minded best hope of steering his father away from dictatorship towards democracy.

Source: Independent

Your Comment