Libyan Ministry of Justice Urges Lebanon for Immediate Release of Hannibal Gaddafi

The Ministry of Justice of the Government of National Unity in Libya called on the Lebanese authorities to provide the necessary rights to Hannibal Gaddafi, including a place of detention, healthcare, visits and correspondence.

The Ministry reaffirmed Hannibal’s right to be released without any restrictions or conditions because the charges against him have not been proven. It also called on the relevant authorities in Lebanon to indicate in an official letter that the conditions of Hannibal’s detention had been improved, referring to what was reported in the media about the conditions that Hannibal was going through in terms of his place of detention and his deprivation of the rights guaranteed by international conventions and treaties.

The Ministry also confirmed communicating with political parties and international as well as regional human rights organizations to ensure that the Lebanese authorities fulfill their responsibilities toward Hannibal Gaddafi and that he “obtains his rights and freedom.”

This statement comes after Lebanese channels have published photos showing where Gaddafi’s son is being held in Lebanon, citing his complaints about the conditions of his detention.

On Monday, Libya formally demanded the release of Hannibal Gaddafi from Lebanese custody, where he had been detained for over eight years without formal charges, as stated by the Ministry of Justice of Libya’s Government of National Unity.

The request came in response to unsettling images broadcasted on Lebanese television, depicting Gaddafi in poor conditions in a cramped, underground cell.

Hannibal, the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is allegedly connected to the unresolved disappearance of Lebanese Imam Musa al-Sadr and his companions in 1978. Lebanese authorities believe Gaddafi might have information concerning the disappearance, despite his insistence that he does not know about the incident, which occurred when he was a toddler.

In a strong condemnation, Libya’s Ministry of Justice criticized Lebanon for not adhering to international legal standards that ensure the protection of detainees’ rights. The Ministry’s statement highlighted multiple human rights infringements and called on Lebanese authorities to provide necessary medical care, allow regular visits, and improve overall detention conditions in line with international norms.

The Libyan Ministry of Justice also expressed hope for a positive engagement from Lebanon in addressing these concerns and improving Gaddafi’s conditions of detention. The case remains a sensitive diplomatic issue, laden with historical and political complexities, continuing to affect Libyan-Lebanese relations.

As negotiations and international dialogue persist, the Libyan government reaffirms its commitment to advocating for Gaddafi’s legal rights and freedom, collaborating with global political and human rights organizations to uphold justice and the rule of law internationally.

Hannibal has been held in pretrial detention, on questionable charges since his arrest in December 2015. According to the rights group, almost 80% of Lebanon’s prison population is in pretrial detention, with some individuals held for several years without charges.

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces took custody of Hannibal in 2015, accusing him of having a connection to the disappearance of Lebanese Shiite Imam, Moussa Al-Sadr and two companions in Libya in 1978.

Despite Hannibal being only two years old in 1978, and having no senior official position as an adult, he was charged with “withholding information and subsequently interfering in the crime of continued kidnapping” of Sadr.

Hanan Salah, Associate Director at Human Rights Watch, criticized Hannibal’s arbitrary detention, stating that it “makes a mockery of Lebanon’s judicial system.” The organization urged authorities to drop the charges and release him.

He was kidnapped in 2015 in Syria and later transferred to Lebanon, where he was tortured and demanded information on Sadr’s disappearance. After being freed from his captors, he was arrested by Lebanese authorities, accused of concealing information about Sadr’s disappearance.

Hannibal reportedly went on a hunger strike from June to October 2023, to protest his arbitrary detention and poor conditions. Lebanon’s prison conditions have deteriorated significantly since the economic crisis in 2019.

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