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article imageSaif Gaddafi sends warning about Abdel Hakim Belhadj

By Katerina Nikolas     Nov 22, 2011 in World
Grimacing slightly in pain from the wound to his hand, Saif Gaddafi was filmed speaking to his captors in Zintan. He warned them that Libyans will discover the truth about Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the military Islamist leader now in a prominent position.
From the confines of his makeshift prison cell in Zintan, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been taped in a revealing interview broadcast by the Telegraph. During the video he warns his captors of the disingenuous nature of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the Islamic military commander of Tripoli. Indeed, if there was any chance that Saif would be freed after a trial, and should stand in future elections, Belhadj would be in his biggest rival for power.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj, former wanted terrorist and founder member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), was returned to Libya by the joint efforts of the U.S. and U.K.in 2004, and is now considering taking legal action against the British government for their part in his rendition. Following his return to Libya, Belhadj claims he was tortured in a Libyan prison, before being released in 2010.
Saif Gaddafi was instrumental in the release of Belhadj through the initiative of the Gaddafi Charity Foundation, during which he met with former LIFG members and negotiated their release, on the proviso they would disavow violence. At the time of Belhadj's release Saif said that Belhadj and other released prisoners "were no longer a danger to society." (Middle East Monitor). Speaking of Belhadj (and Ali al-Salabi, another Islamist) from Zintan, Saif said "I did too much good to those two guys and they pay me back with betrayal."
Saif Gaddafi asks on the video why Belhadj is speaking to the media, and says "the day the Americans handed him over to us he told us how the Americans brought him here hanging from an iron bar after torturing him." Saif then asks how Belhadj can claim he was tortured by Gaddafi regime.
Following the downfall of the Gaddafi regime, Belhadj has received plenty of media attention. He has said Libya's Islamists will not allow themselves to be excluded by secular politicians. Viewed as the head of Libya's Islamists, and with some weight of military power behind him, it is indeed interesting that in his first interview since his captor Saif Gaddafi has sought to draw attention to the danger of Belhadj to Libyans.
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