(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
On Wednesday reports spread that Saif Gaddafi, the former Libyan dictator’s eldest son, was released from prison.
Saif was serving a death sentence in a prison that is said to be located in Zintan, a city in western Libya.
Karim Khan, who has been Saif’s lawyer since June 27, told France 24 on Wednesday that Saif was actually released on April 12 and is “well and safe in Libya.”
Saif’s release came after an amnesty was approved last year by the House of Representatives, the Libyan governing body at the time.
document is “hahaha” in Arabic.
Some speculate that a document released by Libya’s justice minister says that Saif was released after senior members of the Gaddafi tribe appealed for Saif’s release. The document has yet to be deemed authentic and the document is signed off with “hahaha” written in Arabic.
Khan would not share any information about whether he has been in contact with Saif since his release and no one else has been able to locate Saif.
Some speculate that a document released by Libya’s justice minister says that Saif was released after senior members of the Gaddafi tribe appealed for Saif’s release. The document has yet to be deemed authentic and the signature on theMohamed Eljarh, Atlantic Council’s Libyan analyst, claims that Saif has not left Zintan and there is no proof that Saif has actually been freed.
“I have spoken to people from Zintan and they said [Saif] is still in Zintan and under their protection,” however they did not clarify “if he is still captive or free to go.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also pursuing Saif for crimes that he has committed against humanity, especially during the Libyan uprising in 2011.
Khan has recently made a request to the ICC to drop charges against Saif as he has already been convicted of the same crimes in a Libyan court.
“If he [Saif] has been released it could be a tactic to get the ICC to drop the case [against Gaddafi] but this would fail as the ICC has already said a domestic amnesty does not constitute a reason to drop the case,” said Mattia Toaldo, an analyst on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations.
ICC has been frequently asking Libyan authorities to give the ICC custody of Saif so they can begin his trial but the authorities who have Saif under their supervision in Zintan said they will not give him to the ICC.