Saadi Gaddafi faces murder charges in Libya

Son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saadi, charged over murdering Libyan football player Bashir Al-Riani in 2005

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Saadi Gaddafi behind bars in a court in Tripoli, Libya.

The son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saadi Gaddafi, is facing murder charges for allegedly killing ex footballer and Tripoli's Al-Ittihad football club coach Bashir Al-Riani in 2005.

Gaddafi appeared in court where he pleaded not guilty while his attorney Ahmed Nashad was gathering evidence to support his defence, which he will have to present before December 6.

The victim’s family want Gaddafi to be sentenced to death.

"It is impossible to describe how we feel today. We have waited such a long time for justice," one female relative told Middle East Eye. "But we will not be satisfied until Saadi is executed for this crime."

According to the head of investigations for the General Attorney’s Office, Sadiq Al-Souri, if one close relative of the victim forgives the alleged offender he can be senteced to life in prison instead of death.

The six family members who attended the trial said they are not willing to forgive Gaddafi of what he allegedly did in order to avoid capital punishment if he is found guilty of first degree murder. Instead, they hope for justice.

"It was not an accident, it was murder and we are sure he is guilty," a female relative said. "And even if he didn’t actually kill Bashir, Saadi is responsible because, back then, he was in charge of everything and did nothing to stop other ill-treatment," she said.

Saadi Gaddafi is not the only son of Gaddafi to be accused of serious crimes. His brother Saif al-Islam was also sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in absentia and is currently in jail for crimes committed during the popular rebellion against his father.

Al-Riani went missing on 23 December 2005 and was found dead three days later.

"The body was in terrible shape, with a deep wound in his side," he said. "Bashir’s face was unrecognisable - swollen and all different colours, although we don’t know for certain if this was because of beating or because he had been dead for three days."

At the time an investigation not conducted even though the case was open and there were no suspects.

"There was no justice under the old regime. The investigators just asked us lots of questions but didn’t seem to be actually working on the case," the cousin said.

Gaddafi, before he was extradited to Libya, had been under house arrest in Niger since 2011 for crimes before the 2011 uprising.

He claims that during his questioning he was tortured and never given the right to see his lawyers in private and witnesses were too afraid to speak about his case as Libya has no witness protection programme. The claim is under investigation and is supported by a video allegedly showing Gaddafi being beaten by guards.

Libya has been troubled since Gaddafi fell. UN talks have been a dead end while control over the country is the main issue faced by the rival governments.


TRTWorld and agencies