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Prisoner or free man? Mystery surrounds Gaddafi’s son Seif

Nearly a year after a Libyan militia announced it had set free the son and heir apparent of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the fate of Seif al-Islam remains a mystery.

His reported release from detention by the Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade which once controlled the town of Zintan in western Libya has never been confirmed and has fuelled wild rumours.

While some insist he is still somewhere in Zintan, others claim Seif is dead.

One thing is certain, however: he has not been seen or heard of since June 2014 when he appeared via video from Zintan during his trial by a Tripoli court.

And now Seif is back in the news, after France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged in Paris with financing his 2007 election campaign with money from Gaddafi.

In a 2011 interview with the Euronews television network, Seif said Sarkozy must “give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign”.

Seif al-Islam — whose name means “sword of Islam” — was captured by the Zintan-based militia in November 2011, days after Gaddafi was killed in a NATO-backed uprising against his decades-old rule.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is in a legal tug-of-war with Libyan authorities to transfer Seif to The Hague, where he is wanted for crimes against humanity including murder.

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