Libya: Saif Gaddafi faces arrest over alleged links to Russian Wagner mercenaries

Libya: Saif Gaddafi faces arrest over alleged links to Russian Wagner mercenaries
2 min read
13 August, 2021
An arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan dictator, has been issued by prosecutors in Libya over his suspected ties to Russian mercenaries.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been suspected of having ties to Russia for a long time [sources: Getty]

Libyan prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi for suspected ties to Russian mercenaries who are still operating in the country, according to reports. 

The Libyan Military Prosecutor’s Office issued the warrant on August 5, circulating it internally with security and military agencies.

Prosecutors ordered the arrest for his "involvement in murders and recruiting mercenaries," according to local media reports. They are part of "criminal investigations that are being conducted" regarding a case file "related to the incident of murders committed by mercenaries of Russian nationality.

"If Russia had its way, we would have had Saif [al-Islam] Gaddafi giving his victory speech in Tripoli’s famous Martyrs Square," said a Libyan intelligence officer to the BBC

Although a ceasefire was agreed in October 2020, on the condition that foreign mercenaries leave Libya, the presence of Russian forces continues, according to an investigation by the BBC World Service. 

Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organisation that employs soldiers to fight covert operations abroad, was first spotted in Libya in 2019. They are accused of committing war crimes in the country, such as executing prisoners of war. 

Live Story

The young Gaddafi was formerly hailed by some in the West a potential reformist and heir to his father, slain dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

However, during the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011, he joined his father’s crackdown on protesters and was captured by rebels. 

During his detention, Gaddafi was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Tripoli over the killing of protestors. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity. 

Gaddafi made one of his first public appearances after six years of detention last month in an interview with The New York Times, in which he claimed that the men who used to be his guards are now his friends.