Hannibal Gaddafi’s Health Deteriorates After Hunger Strike in Prison

Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libya’s late leader Moammar Gaddafi
Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libya’s late leader Moammar Gaddafi

Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libya’s late leader Moammar Gaddafi, is suffering deteriorating health during the second week of a hunger strike to protest his detention in Beirut without trial, his lawyer said Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Lawyer Paul Romanos added that Hannibal is only drinking small amounts of water, noting that his client is suffering from weakness and muscle pains.

“Had it not been for his solid will, he would not have been able to continue,” Romanos said. He added that a doctor is doing daily checkups for the detainee, who has been also suffering from back pain that turned out to be an inflammation in the spine.

Romanos said earlier this month that the back pain is due to being held in a small room where he cannot move freely or exercise.

Hannibal Gaddafi detained in Lebanon since 2015 after he was briefly kidnapped from neighbouring Syria, where he had been living as a political refugee.

He was abducted by Lebanese militants demanding information on the whereabouts of prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric Moussa al-Sadr, who went missing in Libya 45 years ago.

Lebanese police later announced it had collected Hannibal from the northeastern city of Baalbek where he was being held. He was detained in a Beirut jail without trial since then.

The disappearance of al-Sadr in 1978 has been a long-standing sore point in Lebanon. The cleric’s family believes he may still be alive in a Libyan prison, though most Lebanese presume al-Sadr is dead. He would be 94 years old.

Al-Sadr was the founder of the Amal Movement, which fought in Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war. Lebanon’s powerful Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads the group.

Notably, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi has expressed serious concerns over the deteriorating health of his brother, Hannibal.

According to him, Hannibal’s health is “increasingly precarious, especially since he suffers from multiple illnesses and has stopped taking his medication, in protest against his detention.”

In a statement, Saif stressed that his brother’s detention was “both inhumane and illegal, particularly as he had been held without trial.”

He expressed “surprise at the accusations levelled against Hannibal of withholding information concerning the fate of the Lebanese cleric, Imam Musa Al-Sadr,” pointing out that Hannibal “was only one year old at the time of the cleric’s disappearance.”

On the other hand, the Media Office of the Lebanese Prime Minister denied any contact between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his Libyan counterpart Abdelhamid Dbaiba regarding the case of Hannibal Gaddafi.

Hannibal has recently announced a hunger strike, a protest against his continued arbitrary detention, since his abduction from Syria in 2015.

“News is being circulated through social media claiming that Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU) has contacted Prime Minister Mikati regarding the case of Hannibal Gaddafi” Mikati’s Media Office stated.

“Mikati did not receive any contact from any Libyan party, and case of Hannibal Gaddafi is in the hands of the competent judiciary, and any follow-up to this file takes place through the competent judicial ways,” the statement added.

“Mikati expresses Lebanon’s keenness on the best relations with the Libyan people,” the statement noted.

Most of al-Sadr’s followers are convinced that Moammar Gadhafi ordered al-Sadr killed in a dispute over Libyan payments to Lebanese militias. Libya has maintained that the cleric and his two traveling companions left Tripoli in 1978 on a flight to Rome and suggested he was a victim of a power struggle among Shiites.

Hannibal Gaddafi was born two years before al-Sadr disappeared.