First Published: 2017-08-22

Former Libyan premiere Ali Zeidan still held by kidnappers
Libya's former prime minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped by an armed group in war-torn Tripoli on August 13th, has not been heard from since.
Middle East Online

Zeidan's family said they had no news of his whereabouts.

TRIPOLI - Libya's former prime minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by an armed group in war-torn Tripoli and not been heard from in nine days, family members and friends said Tuesday.

Zeidan, who became premier in November 2012, was dismissed by Libya's parliament in March 2014 amid accusations that public funds had been embezzled.

He left the country soon afterwards, in defiance of a travel ban issued by the attorney general.

Zeidan had returned to Libya in early August for the first time since his dismissal and was planning a Tripoli press conference to respond to his critics, according to Karam Khaled, a friend who accompanied him.

He said the former premier's visit had been coordinated with Fayez al-Sarraj, premier in the country's United Nations-backed Government of National Accord.

"It was the GNA that prepared the visit, including protocol at the airport and the hotel reservation," Khaled said.

He said an armed group's first attempt to seize Zeidan on August 12 was foiled by hotel guards.

He said the gunmen were from the GNA-linked Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a militia of former rebels from the NATO-backed 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

"Gunmen from the same group returned the next day and we were obliged to hand them Zeidan," Khaled said.

"Since then, we have had no information on where he is being held or his condition," he said, criticising the "silence" of the unity government.

The ex-prime minister's son Zeidan Zeidan said the family had no news of his father's whereabouts.

"We have nothing so far," he said by phone from the United Arab Emirates, where he lives.

He said his father's lawyer had told him no court cases had been brought against the former premier.

"This was indeed a kidnapping and not an arrest," he said, adding that the family is worried for the health of his father, who is 67.

In October 2013, gunmen seized the then premier from Tripoli's luxury Corinthia Hotel, but he was released after several hours.

Since Kadhafi's fall, Libya has been plagued by security problems and political actors have been obliged to depend on rival militias that are battling for control of the North African country.

 

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Rare moments of joy at Arabs’ unprecedented World Cup qualifications

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat

Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador to Berlin over Gabriel Lebanon comments

Russia again vetoes renewal of Syria gas attacks probe

UN weighs bid to save Syria gas attacks probe

IS attack kills 26 displaced people in Syria

Saudi FM says Lebanon 'held hostage by Hezbollah'

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days

Turkish troops pulled from NATO drill amid new tensions

Six children among civilians killed in shelling of Eastern Ghouta

US official calls on Sudan to stop 'church demolitions'

Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

Fears of bombs, IS cells still haunt Mosul

Iraq retakes Rawa, last town held by IS

Riyadh striking deals with people detained in anti-graft purge

Iran criticises French Mideast policy

Russia again blocks UN resolution on Syria action

Israel military chief says ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia

Egypt confirms death of wanted jihadist

UK denies link between citizen detained in Iran and £400m debt