Libya’s judicial authorities formally appealed to Lebanon for the release of one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons, who has been held without charges in Lebanon since 2015. The request is due to his deteriorating health as he continues a hunger strike to protest his detention without a trial.
Hannibal Gadhafi’s health had been steadily declining since he initiated the strike on June 3. He had been taken to the hospital multiple times and had been consuming only small amounts of water.
Officials disclosed that Libya’s prosecutor general, Al-Sediq al-Sour, sent a request to his Lebanese counterpart, Ghassan Oueidat, earlier this month concerning the case of Hannibal Gadhafi. The request highlights Lebanon’s cooperation in this matter as crucial in uncovering the truth about the disappearance of prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric Moussa al-Sadr, who vanished in Libya in 1978.
The appeal questioned the grounds for Gadhafi’s detention and proposed that he be either handed over to Libya or permitted to return to Syria, where he was residing in exile with his Lebanese wife and children before being abducted and brought to Lebanon eight years ago.
Lebanese authorities then referred the matter to Zaher Hamadeh, the investigative judge overseeing the missing cleric’s case. Hamadeh is currently reviewing Libya’s request and is expected to respond in due course.
Hannibal Gadhafi had been in Lebanese custody since 2015 when he was abducted by Lebanese militants demanding information about the cleric’s whereabouts. Lebanese police subsequently apprehended him in the city of Baalbek, after which he was held in a Beirut jail.
The disappearance of Moussa al-Sadr in 1978 remained a contentious issue in Lebanon. Although his family believes he may still be alive in a Libyan prison, many Lebanese presume he is deceased. The cleric was a significant figure as the founder of the Amal group, and his disappearance has raised suspicions of political motives.
The request from Libya for Gadhafi’s release amplified tensions around this long-standing case, as the judicial processes and international relations become intertwined.