The commander of Libya’s east-based army, Khalifa Haftar, has said that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the country’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi, could play a political role in the country if he wanted to, according to the London-based, Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat.
Saifal-Islam was released on 10 June by the Abu-Bakr al-Siddiq Brigade, a Libyan militia that had kept him in captivity in the western city of Zintan for six years.
Asked if Saif al-Islam is currently living freely in areas held by the east-based Libyan National Army (LNA), Gen Haftar told Al-Hayat that “he is an ordinary Libyan citizen”.
“I have not seen him but have followed his moves since his release; he is in a specific place. I have nothing against him; on the contrary, he is welcome.”
Asked if Saif al-Islam could have a political role in Libya, Haftar said: “Why not? If he wants to play a political role, there is no problem”.
Before the 2011 revolution, Saif was viewed as Gaddafi’s heir apparent, and also a potential figure for democratic change in Libya.
In contrast, the public prosecutor of the UN-backed Government of National Accord said Saif was still wanted by the authorities.
Earlier this week, Gen Haftar (on the right in this picture) committed his soldiers to a conditional ceasefire with the leader of the rival administration: