Libyan authorities released Al-Saadi Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted from power and killed during the 2011 uprising, according to an official Libyan source and a source in the national unity government on Sunday.
Al-Saadi fled to Niger during the uprising supported by NATO with air strikes, but was extradited to Libya in 2014 and has since been imprisoned in Tripoli.
Al-Saadi was the commander of the Libyan Special Forces, but he was also famous for trying to become a professional football player in Italy.
The official source said that he left immediately, on a plane bound for Istanbul.
The Libyan National Unity Government said, in a statement, that it hopes that Al-Saadi’s release will contribute to national reconciliation.
Libya has suffered from chaos, division and violence during the decade since the uprising.
The release of Gaddafi’s son came as a result of negotiations that included tribal figures and Prime Minister Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, according to the official source.
The national unity government was installed in March, as part of peace efforts that also aim to hold elections in December.
Another source said that the negotiations also included former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.
In 2018, the Libyan Ministry of Justice said that Saadi Gaddafi had been found innocent of charges of “premeditated murder, deception, threats, enslavement and defamation of former football player Bashir al-Riyani.”
And last July, the American newspaper The New York Times said that it had interviewed Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the older brother of al-Saadi, who was detained for several years by an armed group in the town of Zintan but was released in 2017, as his supporters indicate that he will run in the scheduled presidential elections. Next December.