Tripoli releases 214 Islamist prisoners, including 3 top leaders

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, chairman of Gaddafi’s Foundation for Development (GFD) announced on Tuesday the release of 214Islamist inmates, including three senior leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), from prison as part of its programme of rehabilitation of armed groups.

The announcement was made by Seif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, during a press conference inTripoli. Among the 214 Islamists released there are 34 members of the LIFG, including the three leaders of the group – military chief Abdelhakim BelhajKhaled Shrif and ideological official Sami Saadi. LFIG, which was said to have links with Al-Qaeda, had been accused of trying to oust Colonel Gaddafi.

Over 700 Islamists had been freed from jail so far, as part of the rehabilitation program, while 409 are still in prison, of which 232 will be released soon. Seif al-Islam said that with the release of these prisoners, Tripoli wanted to send messages to the Libyan youth “telling them that it can no longer be tolerated that young people indulge in acts of subversion in the name of Islam”.