Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lebanon indicts Gaddafi for abduction

A top Lebanese judge has approved a legal document that calls for the arrest of the Libyan leader over the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr. "We decided ... to accuse Moammar Gaddafi... of inciting the kidnapping and withholding the freedom of... Imam Musa al-Sadr," said the court documents, approved by Investigative Judge Samih al-Haj late on Tuesday.

In August 1978, Iranian-born Lebanese philosopher and prominent religious leader, Imam Musa Sadr, and two of his companions departed for Libya to meet with officials of Gaddafi's government. However, they never returned to Lebanon.

Lebanon's leaders have long brought abduction charges against Tripoli.

An initial case against Libya was closed in 1986 for lack of evidence. But Lebanon's public prosecutor said in August 2004 that he would reopen the investigation after considering new evidence.

Prominent Shia cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr

Sadr was the founder of the Amal Movement, from which the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement later emerged.

He originally took up the plight of Lebanon's impoverished Shia community before the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war. While Lebanon was dissolving into chaos, Sadr preached religious tolerance as he sought to organize the Shias.

Sadr was born in Iran in 1928 and migrated to Lebanon. He remains a revered figure by all Lebanese Shias.

Although, the fate of Sadr and his companions has never been clearly determined, the general belief is that the three were killed shortly after being seized in Libya. Some reports however, claim that Sadr remains secretly incarcerated in the North African country. His disappearance continues to be a major source of dispute between Lebanon and Libya.

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