The rumor triggered a wave of panic amongst the so-called rebels, puppet Government of National Accord (GNA), and the Misratan Islamist groups that control it behind the scenes, causing them to fear an expected counter revolution by Gaddafi supporters.
The self-proclaimed British lawyer, who was never appointed by Saif as his lawyer, Karim Khan, went out to the media on 6 July 2017 and started advertising for the success of his work in the trial of Dr. Saif al-Islam and that he was released on 12 April 2017 and became free to move in Zintan pursuant to the amnesty law legislated by the House of Representatives in Tobruk. The media, of course, without any material evidence that could support his claim hurried to distribute these sensational headlines and quickly people, especially in the west, believed that he was released and Libya is now a free and democratic country. However, the truth is that he is still unlawfully detained in an unofficial prison in Zintan.
The only evidence that was shown by this lawyer to the media was a letter directed to Zintan general attorney written by the minister of justice of the puppet Libyan government Dr. Almabrouk Gharirah Omran dated in 10 April 2016. The contents of the letter are translated below.
Mr. Attorney general of Zintan
Considering the article 2/1/sheen and 829/1 dated in 19 November 2015 and article 2/1/sheen and 1/266 dated in 15 March 2015 regarding the implementation of the general amnesty law number 6 for the year 2015 and through the careful attention of the ministry of justice for the implementation of this law, it has been noticed that there was a delay in implementing the law.
And due to the request of the tribal leaders of the Gadadfa tribe dated in 20 March 2016 regarding the enquiry about the situation of the citizen / Saif al-Islam Moamar Gaddafi who is imprisoned by you and whether he will be included in the general amnesty law indicated above.
And after looking at the documents of the defendant / Saif al-Islam Moamar Gaddafi and considering the general amnesty law mentioned above and studying the cases which are excluded from this law, it turned out that this case is not from those excluded.
Therefore,,, you are requested to release the defendant / Saif al-Islam Moamar Gaddafi, implementing the general amnesty law mentioned earlier and respecting the rule of law in our beloved country.
And peace be upon you and the mercy of God and his blessings
Consultant Dr. Almabrouk Gharirah Omran
Minister of Justice
- Manager of Tribunal Police Zintan Office
- Commander of Abu Baker al-Sidique brigade responsible for the protection of the defendant
- General Periodic File
Moreover, to muddy the waters, the commander of the brigade which abducted him in the south and who is responsible for guarding his prison in Zintan announced on 7 July 2016 that he had implemented the general amnesty law passed by the House of Representatives in Tobruk but he cannot reveal Saif's whereabouts due to security reasons.
After three days of uncertainty following the announcement by his jailer, the Zintan local council issued a statement denying the release of Dr. Saif al-Islam. Later, his jailer announced that he is still in prison and the amnesty law could not be implemented because of the pressure of the revolutionaries of Zintan and its local council.
But why this rumor was made in the first place? Well, there are three main reasons for this. The first was because Haftar, the former CIA asset and the commander of the Operation Dignity who pushed the House of Representatives in Tobruk to pass the general amnesty law, wanted to convince the former Gaddafi militants like the famous fighters of the 32 enhanced brigade, which was commanded by Khamis Gaddafi, and other tribal fighters from Gadadfa tribe to join his war on the Islamist fighters in the east. He also wanted to get the public backing of the more than one million Gaddafi supporters who fled to Egypt and around 300,000 who fled to Tunisia.
Although Dr. Saif al-Islam was not actually released, Haftar has played his cards brilliantly in showing solidarity with the Gaddafi loyalists even if Zintan refused to actually release him and hence many Gaddafi loyalists joined his Dignity Operation and are still fighting for him in the east. In a nutshell, he and Zintan were playing good cop/bad cop on Gaddafi loyalists.
The second goal was to cover the shocking scandal on how the Obama/Clinton-backed government has detained thousands of Gaddafi supporters for years without trials which represents the world’s worst example of human rights violations disregarding the Geneva Convention. Many human rights organization, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have long complained about this. It is estimated that around 40,000 Gaddafi supporters are unlawfully detained without trial since 2011 in Tripoli, Misrata and other unofficial prisons in Libya where they are unable to contact the outside world, cannot contact their families and do not have access to lawyers or medical care. A simple googling of “Saif al-Islam” and you will find the first page is all about the sensational headlines of releasing Dr. Saif al-Islam and how the International Reconciliation efforts were successful and thanks to the NATO, Libya has now become a happy democratic country.
The third reason was simply a silly advertising campaign for the skills of his alleged lawyer, Karim Khan, who staged this publicity stunt and vanished after the truth came out that Dr. Saif al-Islam is still imprisoned in Zintan receiving inhumane treatment and unable to contact the outside world.
This rumor clearly demonstrates the depth of the political machinations that are dominating the Libyan political scene and highlights the fissures between the fighting factions in the fractured Libyan nation nowadays.