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Former Qadhafi official freed in Libya for ‘health reasons’

By AFP - Feb 17,2019 - Last updated at Feb 17,2019

Libyans gather to mark the eighth anniversary of the uprising in Libya's second city of Benghazi, on Sunday (AFP photo)

TRIPOLI — A former official of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi's regime sentenced to death in 2015 was released on Sunday for "health reasons", his family said.

Abuzeid Dorda, 74, had been serving as head of foreign intelligence when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Qadhafi, but he also held a handful of other positions during the dictator's 42-year reign including a stint as prime minister.

He was sentenced to death along with eight others close to Qadhafi including the Libyan leader's son, Seif Al Islam, over their alleged role in the bloody crackdown on protesters.

The United Nations denounced the trial as "seriously" flawed.

Dorda on Sunday was "out of Libya safely after eight years of imprisonment", a close relative told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"He is getting much needed treatment and plans on going back home to Libya as soon as he is fully recovered," he said.

Dorda, who was on crutches at his trial, suffered broken bones after his capture in 2011, which "haven't healed properly due to lack of treatment", the source added.

Libya's attorney general ordered Dorda's "provisional release" in June, but the move was delayed for unknown reasons.

Libyan media reported the former official's arrival in neighbouring Tunisia on Sunday, but his family refused to provide further details about his final destination.

Dorda served as prime minister from 1990 to 1994, but also served stints at the head of the ministries of information, foreign affairs, economy and agriculture.

He was also Libya's ambassador to the UN and to Canada.

Dorda was detained in Tripoli along with 40 other regime officials, including Qadhafi's last prime minister Baghdadi Al Mahmoudi and former intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senussi — who were both sentenced to death.

Seif Al Islam, Qadhafi's son, was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced in absentia.

The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.

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