Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi, was kidnapped on Friday in Lebanon by militants wanting to know about the fate of Siite Muslim cleric who was declared missing in Libya decades ago, according to The Times of Israel.He was released shortly after according to a Lebanese security official.
According to The Independent, 40-year-old Gaddafi was seen in a video shown on the Beirut based channel Al Jadeed TV asking anyone who has information on the cleric known as Moussa al-Sadr to come forward. Gaddafi proclaimed that he was in good health despite having visible black eyes and looking as if he was beaten up.
“I am with people who fear God and have a cause, and they are loyal to their cause,” said Gaddafi. “Therefore we should respect them for their loyalty.”
The militants were reported to have been associated with the Amal Movement, the parliament’s biggest Shia party, and the police told the Associated Press that Gaddafi was sent to Beirut, after he was freed in the city of Baalbek. It was reported by The Telegraph, that Gaddafi was reportedly visiting his wife, Aline Skaf in the country prior to the kidnapping.
Muammar Gaddafi was blamed by Lebanon for the 1978 disappearance of Moussa al-Sadr and two other people on a trip to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. This has made the Gaddafi family unwelcome in Lebanon, especially with members of the country’s Shia Muslim community.
Many of al-Sadr’s followers believed he was killed over a dispute about Lebanese militias receiving Libyan payments. However, Libya has stated that al-Sadr and his travel companions left on a flight for Rome in 1978 and that he was a “victim of a power struggle among Shias.”
Even al-Sadr’s family believes he may still be alive and in a Libyan prison, while many Lebanese think he is dead.
The Iranian born Moussa al-Sadr was one of Lebanon’s most well-known Shiite clerics during the 20th century. He relocated to Lebanon in 1959 to fight for the rights of Shiite Muslims living in the southern port city of Tyre. He was also the founder of Amal, the Shiite military and political group who took part in the 1975 Lebanese civil war.
The Times of Malta recently reported that Gaddafi has been asked by Judge Zaher Hamadeh to come to the Justice Palace to see whether he has information about al-Sadr and the two companions who went missing with him.
This isn’t Hannibal Gaddafi’s first scuffle with the authorities. In 2005, Gaddafi was given a small fine and a four-month suspended prison sentence in France, after being convicted of striking a pregnant woman in a Paris hotel. And in 2008, Gaddafi and the Lebanese born Skaf, were arrested in Switzerland for assaulting two servants in a ritzy Geneva hotel, which sparked a lengthy diplomatic incident.
Muammar Gaddafi was killed in October 2011 following protests in Libya. His widow Safia, and three of his children, including Hannibal, fled prior to his death to a hideaway in Algeria. In October 2012, the family members were granted political asylum in Oman, as confirmed by a government official in a report by the Telegraph. As of March 2013, Hannibal Gaddafi was wanted by authorities in Tripoli for alleged human rights violations.
The late Gaddafi has made headlines this week. It was reported by The Guardian, that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair defended the 2004 “deal in the desert,” with the Libyan leader, claiming that it may have prevented the Islamic State from acquiring chemical weapons. Blair believed that had Libya not been isolated, that they would still support terrorism and developed nuclear weapons.
[Photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images]