[WATCH] Tripoli prosecutor hunting down Saadi Gaddafi’s torturers

Libya’s state prosecutor to investigate apparent torture of Muammar Gaddafi’s son as country plunges into further chaos

A blindfolded Saadi Gaddafi was beaten up by prison guards in a Tripoli prison
A blindfolded Saadi Gaddafi was beaten up by prison guards in a Tripoli prison

Prison guards caught torturing the son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Saadi Gaddafi, on video are wanted by Tripoli authorities.

State prosecutors in the capital are attempting to identify the guards in the video that appears to have been filmed in the al-Hadba prison in Tripoli.

In the video, a blindfolded Saadi Gaddafi - best-known for his lavish lifestyle and brief stint as a footballer in Italy’s top division – is seen being tortured and tied to a pipe by prison guards.

Gaddafi – who in 2000 almost signed for Maltese football club Birkirkara FC - can be heard screaming in pain as he is beaten on his face while being questioned and later on the soles of his feet as he was tied to a pipe. He is also forced to listen and watch other screaming prisoners being beaten outside the room he is held in.

The guards are also shown goading and beating the 42-year-old who was extradited to Libya by Niger last year.
In a statement Tripoli’s prosecutor general said he had launched an investigation to identify the guards and “to take the necessary legal action against them.”

Human Rights Watch condemned the video and said it raises serious concerns about the methods used to interrogate al-Saadi Gaddafi and other detainees at al-Hadba prison.

Saadi Gaddafi was extradited to Libya in March 2014 from Niger, where he fled after the 2011 revolution.

Born in 1973, Saadi was once thought closest in outlook to his brother Saif al-Islam who was seen as the modernizing force within the regime.
Following his stint as a professional footballer he re-emerged as head of the Libyan special forces, which played a leading role in repressing the 2011 uprising.

Saadi is accused of trying to suppress the uprising against his father and is facing charges over the murder of a football player when he headed the Libyan Football Federation.

The video was posted a week after another of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam was sentenced to death together with eight former regime officials.
The controversial court ruling against Saif al-Islam was passed in absentia since he is held in Zintan, a western region beyond the Tripoli self-declared government’s control.

A total of 37 people were on trial over war crimes including the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolution that ended his father’s rule. Legal experts and human rights groups dismissed the proceedings’ legitimacy with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International pointing out that defense lawyers lacked full and timely access to case files and several had been unable to meet clients in private.

The UN human rights agency said “we had closely monitored the detention and trial and found that international fair trial standards had failed to be met,” citing a failure to establish individual criminal responsibility, lack of access to lawyers, claims of ill-treatment, and trials conducted in absentia.

Saif’s captors, the Zintanis, are at war with the Islamist militias Libya Dawn and have refused to hand him over, saying they do not trust the self-declared government seated in Tripoli.

The internationally recognised Libyan parliament and government based in the east of the country are refusing to respect the sentence and insist that Saif should be handed over to the ICC, which has an active arrest warrant in his name.

On Monday, a small group of Libyan nationals gathered outside the parliament building in Valletta to protest against the “unlawful” ruling.

They also protested against the growing chaos in the North African country where two rival governments are vying for control over the country’s territory and vast resources, while Islamic State militants have benefitted from the power vacuum and gained a foothold in some areas of the country.

With the country’s crippled infrastructure on the verge of collapse, residents in Tripoli, Benghazi and other major cities are enduring daily 12-hour power cuts, medicine, fuel and food shortages and travel restrictions.

In a bid to alleviate the country’s growing woes, the European Commission this week agreed to give €6 million in humanitarian funding to meet the most urgent needs of the people who have been severely affected by the ongoing conflict, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The new fund will primarily support the delivery of items such as kitchen sets, blankets and mattresses, as well as health and protection. The funds will also help humanitarian organisations better assess the situation, so they can improve their response to needs on the ground.