Libya: Court reinstates Gadhafi's son as election candidate
December 3, 2021
Seif al-Islam al-Gadhafi has said he wants to restore Libya's "lost unity." The son of late strongman leader Moammar Gadhafi had previously been barred from presidential elections slated for December.
Libya's election commission has ruled that Seif al-Islam al-Gadhafi may now stand as a presidential candidate after he was disqualified last month.
Gadhafi, son of former leader Moammar Gadhafi and once his heir apparent, had been barred from running because of past convictions against him for using violence against protesters.
What did the court decide?
A court in the southern province of Sabha finally ruled in favor of Seif Gadhafi, having failed to convene for almost a week after the building was surrounded by armed men who stopped judges from entering.
Gadhafi tweeted late on Thursday, to thank the judges for risking their personal safety. He said they had done so "in the name of truth."
Khaled al-Zaydi, his lawyer, praised Gadhafi's reinstatement as "a victory for justice and the people's will."
According to the commission, Seif Gadhafi was disqualified because of a criminal conviction.
In 2015, he was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes committed during the violent uprising in 2011. The ouster ultimately ended with the public lynching of his father. However, Gadhafi maintains his innocence.
Criticism of latest decision
There are already serious disputes over how the elections should be held, and questions over their credibility and how they should be held.
The elections — which have the enthusiastic backing of many Western Nations — are part of a UN backed effort to bring peace back to the North African country.
Libya analyst Emadeddin Badi posted on Twitter that the decision on Thursday merely raised more questions.
"The electoral process is slowly achieving a hat trick, destroying the credibility of the UN, of #Libya's judiciary, & of elections as a way (out) of the crisis," Badi said.
Who is Seif Gadhafi?
The now 49-year-old Seif Gadhafi was an influential figure in his father's inner circle.
He performed public relations and diplomatic roles on his father's behalf, and was the second most widely recognized person in Libya being at times the "de facto" prime minister.
In 2011, the International Criminal Court in The Hague accused him of crimes against humanity, issuing an arrest warrant against him.
Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed the longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
After his father was ousted, Seif was captured by tribal militias in Zintan, in northwestern Libya. He was released by them in 2017 and is thought to still be living among his former captors.
In an interview with the New York Times in July, the first he had given a Western publication for years, Seif had hinted at a presidential bid this year. He said he wanted to "restore the lost unity" of Libya.