Libya: Gadhafi’s Son Gets Death Penalty for War Crimes

Libya: Gadhafi’s Son Gets Death Penalty for War Crimes

The son of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam, has been sentenced in absentia by a Libyan court to death after he was found guilty of war crimes committed during the 2011 revolution.

According to Libyans, Said al-Islam was seen as the “successor” to the Libyan strongman, wielding power over the finances and logistics of government operations and serving as a de facto prime minister.

Libyan prosecutors say that he was part of his father’s plans to “quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against the Gadhafi regime”.

Seif al-Islam was accused of recruiting mercenaries who were given Libyan nationality, planning and carrying out air strikes on civilian targets, forming armed groups and shooting into crowds of demonstrators.

He is currently held by a former rebel group from the town of Zintan that refuses to hand him over to the central government. Other members of Gadhafi’s inner circle, including former spy chief Abdallah al-Senousi and several ex-senior officials have also been sentenced to death.

These high-profile trials come as Libya is still facing instability due to continued bloody violence and fighting between rival groups and armed militias competing for power since the fall of the autocratic regime of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The rebel groups that helped overthrow the Gadhafi regime have split into two rival camps – one based on hard-line Islamist ideology while the other is largely secular.

The North-African nation has currently two governments and two parliaments, one based in the east recognized by the international community, while the other self- proclaimed (General National Congress) is based in the west in Tripoli and has so far refused to sign the UN-brokered peace accord initialed by several Libyan factions.

The violence between the two warring factions has enabled the Islamic State to set foot in the country and expand its influence, threatening the peace and stability of the region.

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