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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Gaddafi’s son announces candidacy for president of Libya

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The son and one-time heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has announced his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month.

Seif al-Islam, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity related to the 2011 uprising, submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha, Libya’s High National Elections Commission said in a statement on Sunday.

Gaddafi’s son was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled his father after more than 40 years in power. Gaddafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.

In a video shared by an election official, Seif al-Islam addressed the camera, saying God will decide the right path for the country’s future. He wore spectacles and a traditional Libyan robe and turban.

It was the first time in years he has appeared in public.

He was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention, and in July this year he told the New York Times in an interview that he was considering a run for the country’s top office.

His candidacy is likely to stir controversy across the country.

Seif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the first weeks of the 2011 uprising.

Libya is set to hold presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the country’s war to an end.

Following the overthrow and killing of Gaddafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade spilt between rival governments – one based in the capital Tripoli and the other in the eastern part of the country.

Gaddafi had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime.

His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gaddafi was captured and killed.

Two other sons, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising.

Another son, al-Saadi Gaddafi, was released in September after more than seven years of detention in Tripoli following his extradition from neighbouring Niger.

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