Tripoli — A son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has been cleared by his judges in a politically-charged case of rebellion, and has now become the country’s top opposition leader, according to a report by The Guardian. Seif al-Islam al-Qaddafi had been convicted three years ago for his role in organizing the 2011 uprising against his father, but a Sharia court ruled on Thursday that his rights had been violated during that trial, including the time taken up by Qaddafi’s lawyer.
The son, as well as other Qaddafi sons Seif al-Islam, Muatassim, and Mohamed, has been based in the Algerian capital, Algiers, ever since his trial in Tripoli ended in mistrial in 2017. He has been living outside Libya for years. But following the 2011 armed uprising against his father, the 31-year-old now re-emerges as a leading opposition figure.
He is now a member of a newly-formed opposition movement with the same name as a party he formed years ago. His success in luring a number of prominent Libyan political figures away from the ruling Green Movement party has attracted growing attention from residents in Tripoli, where he is a relative newbie, as well as the international community, particularly western powers who see him as the potential lynchpin in the country’s stability, and would prefer the Green Movement take the lead in working toward democratic reform.
But while he insists he is working to promote greater political freedom, he is also trying to attract support from outside the country, meeting with Western ministers and other senior officials in recent months. His aides told the Guardian that the government now believes he is the best hope for its stalled efforts to steer Libya toward a greater openness, democratic transition, and inclusiveness.
And now, the Qaddafi son is calling for the end of the protection afforded the Green Movement.
While he is popular with many Libyans who have grown tired of the dominance of the Green Movement on the country’s politics, he has suffered at least two previous setbacks in that quest — in 2014, the organization he was working with, the National Salvation Government, collapsed in Tripoli following the formation of an alliance between the more conservative and rigid Islamic Alternative List and the more conservative Salafist Union Alliance. A year later, a number of groups, including the populist Popular Union Movement (UDM), formed by western nationals, overthrew the Green Movement.
And while Libya’s lawless nature, and failure to form a stable government in recent years has not helped the efforts to accommodate the Libyans’ growing unrest and frustration, the defection of prominent figures from the Green Movement could prove to be a major blow to the new alliance.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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