Libya: Gaddafi’s Heir Apparent Saif Al-Islam Changed Image
The International Criminal Court in The Hague called Seif-al-Islam Gadhafi the “de facto prime minister” of Libya as it issued an arrest warrant for him in June, accusing him of crimes against humanity.
The second of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s seven sons, Seif Gadhafi was once seen as the heir apparent, the symbol of Libya’s hopes for reform and openness.
He has a doctorate from the London School of Economics and speaks flawless English. Seif Gadhafi also has a reputation for hard-partying and womanizing. He reportedly paid American pop singer Mariah Carey $1 million to sing just four songs at a private bash on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.
In 1997, he founded the charity, the Gadhafi International Foundation for Charity Associations, which has intervened in various hostage situations involving Islamic militants and sent hundreds of tons of aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
But as anti-government demonstrators took to the streets earlier this year, he took a new stance. In February, he made an extemporaneous speech on Libyan state TV blaming the uprising on drunken and drugged tribal factions acting on their own agendas. He also promised tens of thousands would die if protests continued, creating “a river of blood”.
In May, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said he had “direct evidence” that Mr. Gadhafi, Seif Gadhafi and Libya’s chief of intelligence ordered the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons against protesters. The ICC judges said the three were criminally responsible for killing, wounding and imprisoning hundreds of civilians in the first two weeks of the uprising.