Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Son of Qaddafi freed in Lebanon after ‘kidnapping’

AFP, BEIRUT

Hannibal Muammar Qaddafi, the high-living businessman son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, was freed late on Friday, several hours after he was kidnapped in Lebanon by an unknown armed group, security sources said.

Lebanese police freed Hannibal Muammar and were set to question him, one source said, without specifying where the businessman had been released.

A second security source said that Hannibal Muammar had been “kidnapped by an armed group in the region of Bekaa while he was traveling from Syria, before being released on Friday night in the same region.”

Bekaa is an eastern stronghold of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said Hannibal’s kidnappers had demanded “information on Musa al-Sadr,” a Lebanese Shiite leader who went missing in 1978.

Beirut blamed the disappearance on the longtime Libyan strongman, and the Qaddafi family was branded persona non grata by Lebanon, especially among members of the Shiite Muslim community.

A former Libyan envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, told the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat in 2011 that al-Sadr had been ordered killed during a visit to Libya and was buried in the southern region of Sabha.

Late on Friday, the Lebanese private television channel al-Jadid broadcast a video purportedly showing Hannibal Muammar.

In the video he appears to have been beaten up and has two black eyes, but he says that he is “well” and calls on “all those who have evidence about al-Sadr to present it without delay.”

It was not clear when or where the video was filmed.

The lavish lifestyles of Qaddafi’s family and entourage helped fuel the anger in Libya that sparked the protests that eventually led to the strongman’s ouster and killing in 2011.

Hannibal, born in 1975, was among a group of family members — including Qaddafi’s wife Safia Farkash, son Mohammed and daughter Ayesha — who escaped to neighboring Algeria after the fall of Tripoli.

In 2008, Hannibal Muammar and his wife, the Lebanese model Aline Skaf, sparked a diplomatic incident with Switzerland when they were arrested in a luxury Geneva hotel for assaulting two former servants.

The Libyan regime demanded that no charges be brought and an apology be made over the allegations that Hannibal Muammar had assaulted the pair, a Tunisian and a Moroccan. The case was dropped.

In 2011, as Muammar Qaddafi was battling the uprising against him, a private jet carrying Skaf was refused permission to land at Beirut’s airport.

An official said at the time that acting Lebanese transport minister Ghazi Aridi had asked for a detailed passenger manifest and that his request was rejected by the Libyans.

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