Skip to main content

Lebanon arrests Shia ex-MP for links with Gaddafi son kidnapping

Hassan Yaacoub reportedly worked with a woman to lure Hannibal Gaddafi from his refuge in Syria's Latakia to Damascus, then to Lebanon
Former Lebanese MP Hassan Yaacoub outside the parliament in Beirut on 2 November 2001 (AFP)

Lebanese authorities have arrested a former lawmaker in connection with the mysterious kidnapping of Hannibal Gaddafi, the high-rolling son of the late Libyan dictator, a security source told AFP on Friday. 

Intelligence services brought in former MP Hassan Yaacoub for questioning around 11:00 am local time (0900 GMT) on Thursday as part of their investigation into the brief kidnapping of Gaddafi, the security source said.

Gaddafi, who resided in Syria, was kidnapped on 11 December in Lebanon's Bekaa valley near the Syrian border, but was freed by police hours later. 

Earlier this week, Lebanese authorities charged Gaddafi with withholding information about the disappearance of revered Shia cleric Mussa Sadr, who vanished in Libya in 1978. 

According to the security source, investigators discovered that Yaacoub had orchestrated an elaborate scheme to seize Gaddafi from Syria and bring him to Lebanon. 

"They discovered that Yaacoub had worked with a woman named Fatima to lure Gaddafi from [the coastal Syrian province] Latakia to Damascus, then to Lebanon," he said.

Security forces arrested Yaacoub, who will undergo further questioning and will be held until authorities decide whether to charge him. 

Lebanon's national news agency confirmed Yaacoub's arrest and said it had sparked protests and road closures in east Lebanon. 

Yaacoub is a former member of parliament from the Shia Amal movement, which is popular in Lebanon's south and east and which was founded by Sadr. 

Sadr went missing in Libya in 1978 during an official visit, along with an aide and a journalist. 

Beirut blamed the disappearances on longtime Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, and Gaddafi family members were branded personae non gratae by Lebanon, especially among members of the Shia Muslim community.

But Hannibal Gaddafi had secured political refugee status in Syria, a statement by the government in Damascus said earlier this week. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.