Hannibal Gadhafi begins hunger strike in Lebanon

In an unprecedented turn of events, Hannibal Gadhafi, son of Libya’s deceased leader, Moammar Gadhafi, has begun a hunger strike, protesting against his detention without trial for over seven years in Lebanon, according to his legal counsel.

Hannibal Gadhafi has been held captive in Lebanon since 2015 after he was abducted from Syria, where he had sought refuge as a political outcast. His kidnapping by Lebanese insurgents was reportedly prompted by a quest for information on the whereabouts of a long-lost Shiite cleric, who mysteriously disappeared in Libya over four decades ago.

Following his abduction, Gadhafi was apprehended by Lebanese law enforcement and has since been held in a Beirut prison, yet to be brought to trial.

Hannibal Gadhafi’s solicitor, Paul Romanos, informed The Associated Press that his client began his hunger strike on Saturday morning, steadfastly asserting that “he is serious and will continue with it until the end.” Romanos did not delve into case specifics, citing his lack of authorisation to discuss the matter publicly.

The detained Libyan has since released a statement describing his conditions. He questioned, “How can a political prisoner be held without a fair trial all these years?” Married to a Lebanese woman, Gadhafi highlighted his hunger strike as a potent symbol of protest against his unjust treatment and asserted that the individuals responsible would bear the consequences.

Gadhafi also lamented about the detiorating state of his physical health. His lawyer, Romanos, commented that his client is suffering from back pain due to confinement in a compact cell for years, restricting his mobility and physical activity.

The sudden disappearance of Moussa al-Sadr, a prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric, in 1978, continues to be a contentious issue in Lebanon. Al-Sadr, originally from the Iranian holy city of Qom, moved to Lebanon in 1959 and was an ardent advocate for the rights of Shiites in Tyre, a southern port town.

Al-Sadr’s whereabouts remain a mystery, with many suspecting foul play at the hands of Moammar Gadhafi during a disagreement over Libyan payments to Lebanese militias. However, Libya has consistently asserted that the cleric left Tripoli for Rome in 1978, possibly falling victim to a power struggle within the Shiite community.

Hannibal Gadhafi, born just two years before al-Sadr’s disappearance, fled to Algeria following the fall of Tripoli, along with his mother and several other family members. His subsequent journey led him to Syria, where he was granted political asylum, only to be later abducted and transported to Lebanon. As the hunger strike continues, the fate of this political prisoner remains precariously balanced, underscoring the enduring legacy of the Gadhafi dynasty’s tumultuous history.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Abdel Magid al-Fergany, File

Tags : Lebanon