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Saadi Gaddafi

Saadi Gaddafi sits behind bars during a hearing at a courtroom in Tripoli, Libya February 7, 2016 [File: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters]

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Libya releases Gadhafi's son after 7-plus years detention


Cairo: Former Libyan ruler, Muammar Gadhafi's son, Al-Saadi Gadhafi has been released by Libyan authorities on Sunday after more than seven years of detention in the capital, Tripoli, said the country's interim leader Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister-designate Dbeibah said on early Monday that al-Saadi Gadhafi had been released in compliance with a previous court order.

We cannot move forward without achieving reconciliation," Dbeibah said in the tweet announcing the release. His government has been given the task of leading the war-wrecked country to elections before the end of this year.

Al Saadi walked free from Tripoli's al-Hadaba prison, where many Gadhafi regime officials are being held pending trial, mostly in connection with the crackdown on the 2011 uprising that toppled the longtime ruler and led to his killing, said Mohamed Hamouda, a spokesman for the transitional government

Hamouda did not elaborate on the circumstances of Al Saadi's release.

According to local media reports Al-Saadi Gadhafi was released after he was acquitted of charges dating back to the uprising against his father's rule. Al-Marsad news website reported that following his release, Al-Saadi travelled to Turkey.

At the time of the 2011 revolt, Al-Saadi Gadhafi headed a special forces brigade that was involved in the crackdown on protesters and rebels.

Al-Saadi got political asylum in neigbouring country Niger after the 2011 uprising. But in March 2014, he was extradited to Libya, after he, as well as colleagues who accompanied him, failed to respect the conditions of his stay in Niger," the West African nation's government said at the time.

The dictator had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime. His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gadhafi was captured and slain. Two other sons, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising.

Following his extradition, prosecutors in Libya said he faced charges in connection with abductions and rapes during the 2011 uprising, misuse of his post and the killing of Bashir al-Riyani, a popular Libyan soccer player who was a vocal critic of Gadhafi's regime.

The elder Gadhafi ruled Libya for nearly 42 years before he was ousted by an uprising in August 2011. He was captured and killed two months later.

The oil-rich country plunged into chaos after the uprising and has been ruled for most of the past decade by rival governments based in Libya's west and the east, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

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