Libya Moves Towards National Reconciliation: Release of Political Prisoners, Surrender of the Bodies of Muammar, Mutassim Qaddafi

While the release of a number of senior figures of the former regime, including Ahmed Ramadan, director of the office of the late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Mansour Daw, former commander of the People’s Guard, was announced yesterday, informed sources confirmed that an agreement was reached between the notables of Misrata and the Qadhadhfa and Al-Majabra tribes to reveal the location where Qaddafi, his son Mutassim, and his defense minister, Abu Bakr Younis Jaber, were buried. The Presidential Council highlighted that a number of political prisoners, whose sentences had expired, or who had not been judicially convicted, were released.

The council’s statement confirmed the release of Ahmed Ramadan, indicating that the Presidential Council will continue its work within the framework of the tasks entrusted to it, to achieve comprehensive national reconciliation, in coordination for the release of the remaining prisoners.

The presidency reiterated the importance of expediting the release of all forcibly imprisoned, who have no charges, referring all pending cases to the judiciary as soon as possible. The statement added, “The Council is following up directly, with all relevant authorities, emphasizing the values ​​of justice and human rights principles in building the new Libya.”

Al-Arab learned that an envoy from the Presidential Council contacted the released and conveyed an official request to contribute to the consolidation of social reconciliation among Libyans during the coming period.

During a meeting with the delegation from the Qadhadhfa tribe in the city of Misurata, former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha stressed the need to establish a culture of tolerance and coexistence among Libyans, adding, “We remind all parties and institutions of the need to abide by their responsibilities in accordance with the road map, to achieve justice, peace, and general amnesty for all prisoners, detainees and prisoners from all sides, and to move towards the presidential and parliamentary elections in one hundred and ten days.”

A security source from the Libyan city of Sirte said that at dawn on Monday, “the notables of the city of Misrata addressed the notables of the Al-Majabra tribe, to which Lieutenant-General Abu Bakr Younis Jaber belongs, one of Muammar Qaddafi’s companions, and notables of the Qadhadhfa tribe, surrendering the remains of the former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Mutassim Qaddafi, and Abu Bakr.”

And last week, militia leader Salah Badi, one of the participants in the burial of Colonel Qaddafi, his son Mutassim Billah, and Abu Bakr Younis, said that he was “ready to reveal the place where Qaddafi’s body was buried after he was killed on October 20, 2011, following a bloody battle in the city of Sirte, his hometown.“

Yesterday evening, Major General Naji Harir Masoud Qaddafi, commander of the Military College and the Muhammad Al-Maqrif battalion in the former regime, arrested in 2011, released in 2017, re-arrested by the Special Deterrence Militia led by Abdul Raouf Kara in 2018, was finally released. This coincided with the release of Al-Saadi Al-Qaddafi after seven years in detention.

The government said that 2 years after the decision to release Al-Saadi, his family received him in accordance with legal procedures, stressing its commitment to what it had pledged, to work on releasing all prisoners, without exception, whose legal status required it. The government called for efforts to be poured into the path of comprehensive national reconciliation, the basis of which is the enforcement and respect of the law.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba stated that the release of Al-Saadi came with the implementation of a decision issued by the Public Prosecution, adding that Libya cannot move forward without achieving reconciliation or establish a state without achieving justice and law enforcement.

“The decision to release detainees is a step that will push towards national reconciliation and forgetting the past,” Mohamed Hammouda, the official spokesman for the national unity government, said in a press statement.

Press sources revealed that the plane carrying Al-Saadi landed at Istanbul Airport early Monday morning, with Naji Harir on board, who was also released.

Most of the symbols of the former regime moved directly from Tripoli to reside in other countries once released, including Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.

Al-Saadi had taken refuge in Niger in 2011, but the authorities in Niger handed him over to the Libyan authorities in 2014 to be imprisoned from that time until his release today.

The Tripoli authorities accused Qaddafi’s son of “seizing property by force and intimidation during the era of his presidency of the Libyan Football Association.” The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued a “red notice” against him to demand its member states to arrest him, and in a final ruling in April 2018, he was acquitted of all charges.

After the advent of the new government last March, the efforts to release those acquitted by the judiciary, such as Al-Saadi and Abdullah Mansour, expanded, and the Presidential Council, Minister of Justice Halima Abdel Rahman and Attorney General Al-Siddiq Al-Sour participated.

Informed sources said that a request to receive Al-Saadi was directed to Amman, Riyadh, Cairo and Ankara, and that the Turkish and Saudi authorities were quick to accept the request, adding that Al-Saadi left for Turkey. His next stop would be Egypt, where his mother, Safiya Farkash, and his two children (a boy and a girl), live with their mother.

Observers believe that most of those released from the former regime moved from Tripoli to reside in other countries, including Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, the last Secretary of the General People’s Committee (Prime Minister) during the Qaddafi era, Bouzid Dorda, the former external security official, Sayed Qaddaf Al-Dam, Ahmed Al-Sharif and others, and some attribute this to the inability of the local authorities to provide them with security protection, while others go abroad to receive medical treatment and meet members of their families dispersed in the diaspora.

Counselor Mustafa Al-Naimi considered that transferring Al-Saadi Qaddafi outside of his country after his release is a violation of the law and basic human rights.

Al-Naimi added, “The release of the acquitted after several years in prison despite the issuance of a final judgment of innocence, and his transfer to Turkey, instead of giving him the right to choose his place of residence, is a violation of his basic rights, the right to live in his homeland or any place of his choice, not to be transferred to a country he does not wish to reside in, forcing him to live far from his family and his true home. Why is he not allowed to go to where his family and children, who desperately need him, live?”

However, Libyan sources stated that Al-Saadi chose to go abroad, and this was arranged with the Turkish authorities, so that Istanbul would be his first stop on the way to where he wanted to settle. He must ensure his physical safety and provide all the security guarantees required by the process of leaving from prison to the airport. The sources added that Al-Saadi holds a special position among his father’s supporters, while others have absolute hostility that may threaten his life, and he currently does not own a home in Tripoli. His family members are outside Libya, except for his brother, Saif al-Islam, who is in an unknown location, and he considered it better to leave the country to be in direct contact with his family members.

On the other hand, Libyan circles wondered about the way in which Al-Saadi was transferred to Turkey, especially in light of the wide and close security and intelligence relations between Tripoli and Ankara.

Former Libyan government spokesman, Mousa Ibrahim, questioned the motives behind the transfer of Al-Saadi to Turkey in particular, and said in a blog post that “the plane that took Major General Al-Saadi Qaddafi to Istanbul was not an ordinary plane, and even the passport was forged for political reasons.” It will be a new deal from the Brotherhood to obstruct the elections, and a new deal to overthrow the son of the late Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.”

Those who agree with these doubts believe that Turkey is currently seeking to infiltrate the supporters of the former regime, who represent a broad popular base that oppose its role in the country, to make a deal with them in order to reach an alliance between them and the Brotherhood during the upcoming elections to block the way for Khalifa Haftar, the commander-in-chief of the army.

Member of the Libyan House of Representatives, Abdel Muttalib Thabet, considered that “this release process falls under the framework of national reconciliation,” noting that “national reconciliation is important at the current stage, in order to reunite and heal the rift between all Libyans.”

The head of the Future Movement and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the outgoing interim government, Abdulhadi Al-Hawij, described the release of the symbols of the former regime as the beginning of a reconciliation that is not based on domination.

Al Arab

Translation by Internationalist 360°