TRIPOLI: Saadi Qaddafi, a son of Libya’s late dictator Muammar Qaddafi who was overthrown and killed in a 2011 uprising, has been freed from jail, according to the interim government.
Saadi — the strongman’s third son, now aged 47 — briefly played as a professional footballer in Italy.
“Saadi Muammar Qaddafi has been freed from prison,” following a court ruling several years ago, a justice ministry source said late Sunday — without saying whether he was still in the country.
“Saadi (Qaddafi) was handed over to his family in accordance with legal procedures,” the Government of National Unity confirmed in a later statement.
Several media reports suggested Qaddafi had already taken a flight to Turkey.
Another source, who works at the prosecutor’s office, confirmed to AFP that Qaddafi had been freed.
“The chief prosecutor asked, several months ago, for the execution of the decision relating to Saadi Qaddafi as soon as all the required conditions had been satisfied,” said the source.
Qaddafi was free to stay or leave, the source added.
Saadi fled to Niger following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, but was extradited to Libya in 2014.
A former professional footballer in Italy, Saadi was held in a Tripoli prison, accused of crimes committed against protesters and of the 2005 killing of Libyan football coach Bashir Al-Rayani.
In April 2018, the court of appeal acquitted him of Rayani’s murder.
Since the 2011 uprising, Libya has sunk into chaos, with an array of rulers and militias vying for power.
A 2020 cease-fire ended the factional fighting and paved the way for peace talks and the formation of a transitional government this March, ahead of elections set for December.
But preparations are marred by disputes over when to hold elections, what elections to hold and on what constitutional grounds.