Rights group urges Lebanon to free Kadhafi’s son

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Human Rights Watch called on Lebanon on Jan. 16 to release a son of Libya’s former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, saying he had been held on “spurious charges” for eight years.

Lebanon in 2015 arrested and accused Hannibal Gadhafi, known for living the high life, of withholding information about the disappearance of Lebanese Shiite cleric imam Mussa Sadr in 1978.

But HRW said he was only two years old at the time the cleric disappeared, and accused Lebanon of subjecting him to an “apparent arbitrary detention on spurious charges.”

“Spending eight years in pre-trial detention makes a mockery of Lebanon’s already strained judicial system,” the group’s Hanan Salah said in a statement.

Sadr, the founder of the Amal movement, now a main ally of militant group Hezbollah, went missing during an official visit to Libya, along with an aide and a journalist.

Beirut blamed the disappearances on long-time Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, overthrown and killed in a 2011 uprising, and ties between the two countries have been strained ever since.

“It’s understandable that people want to know what happened to imam Sadr,” Salah said. “But it is unlawful to hold someone in pre-trial detention for many years merely for their possible association with the person responsible for wrongdoing.”

A Lebanese judicial official slammed the HRW report as “biased and one-sided,” telling AFP it was based solely on “information obtained from Hannibal Gadhafi’s defense team.”

Gadhafi is “detained in a purely judicial matter,” the source continued, charging that he was responsible for prisons during his father’s rule, “including the one in which the imam was held.”

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