Who's left of the Gaddafi clan and where are they?

AFP , Monday 6 Sep 2021

On Sunday, Gaddafi's third son, Saadi, was released from a prison in Tripoli, three years after he was acquitted over the murder of a football coach while still accused of shooting protesters during the revolution

Saadi Kadhafi, a son of Libya
The son of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, sits in the accused cell during his trial in a courthouse in the Libyan capital Tripoli. AFP

Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi was ousted and killed in the 2011 uprising, but several of his family members survived. Nearly a decade on from the dictator's gruesome slaying, what has happened to them?

On Sunday, Gaddafi's third son, Saadi, was released from a prison in Tripoli, three years after he was acquitted over the murder of a football coach while still accused of shooting protesters during the revolution.

Three of the eccentric ruler's other seven sons died in the uprising, including Mutassim, who was killed by rebels in the dictator's home town of Sirte on October 20, 2011, the same day as his father.

Another son, Seif al-Arab, perished in a NATO air raid in April 2011, and his brother Khamis died in combat four months later, at the height of the revolt.

But other members of the Gaddafi clan survived, including his wife Safiya, his eldest son Mohammed -- from his first marriage -- and his daughter Aisha, who are known to be living in exile.

In July, the dictator's erstwhile heir apparent, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), emerged from years in the shadows.

He told the New York Times he was planning a political comeback, and did not rule out running in general elections expected in December.

The family

After the fall of Tripoli to rebels in August 2011, Safiya, Mohammed and Aisha escaped to neighbouring Algeria.

They were later granted refuge in the Gulf sultanate of Oman on condition they do not carry out political activities, the country's then foreign minister Mohammed Abdelaziz told AFP in 2013.

Aisha, a lawyer by profession and a former UN goodwill ambassador, had been part of an international defence team for Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi leader was ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion.

High-rolling son Hannibal also sought refuge in Algeria after the uprising, before trying to sneak into Lebanon to join his wife, Lebanese model Aline Skaf.

But Lebanese authorities arrested and charged him in 2015 with withholding information about prominent Muslim Shiite cleric Mussa Sadr, who went missing in 1978 during a visit to Libya.

Hannibal and his wife had sparked a diplomatic incident with Switzerland in 2008 when they were arrested in a luxury Geneva hotel for assaulting two former domestic employees.

Playboy son Saadi Gaddafi -- once a professional footballer in Italy -- fled to Niger after the uprising, but was later extradited to Libya, where he was wanted for the 2005 killing of Libyan football coach Bashir al-Rayani and repression during the revolt.

In April 2018, the court of appeal acquitted him of Rayani's murder, and he was freed from jail on Sunday, according to a justice ministry source and another source at the prosector's office.

Several media reports on Sunday suggested Gaddafi had already taken a flight to Turkey.

Heir apparent

Seif al-Islam, whose name means "sword of Islam", was captured by a Libyan militia from Zintan in November 2011, days after his father was killed.

In June 2014 he appeared via video from Zintan, western Libya, during his trial by a Tripoli court.

In 2015, he was sentenced in absentia to death for crimes committed during the revolt.

The armed group which captured him announced in 2017 that he had been released.

But he remained out of the public eye until the New York Times interviewed him in Zintan in July 2021, when he said he was no longer a prisoner and was planning a political return.

"The men who used to be my guards are now my friends," he said, deploring Libya's descent into chaos in the decade since his father's overthrow and killing.

Clan and tribe

During his glory days, Moamer Gaddafi considered himself the "Leader of the Revolution" and declared Libya a "Jamahiriya", or "state of the masses" run by local committees.

Thousands of his supporters, including from his own Gaddadfa tribe, fled Libya during and after the regime's fall, with many settling in Egypt and Tunisia.

The clan also included members of Gaddafi's revolutionary guard -- a paramilitary force tasked with protecting the regime against its detractors -- who were not necessarily blood relatives.


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