The article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the confines of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own and to return to his country”. It would not seem so talking with Aline Skaf, the Lebanese model, wife of Hannibal Gaddafi, the fourth son of the former Libyan leader Muhammar Gaddafi, recently sentenced to a year and three months of prison, where he is from almost three years. Concise answers that sometimes leave space for melancholy and sorrow, so Aline tells us their ordeal from Libya to Syria, through the forced disappearance of her husband in Lebanon.
– Where are you right now?
“I’m in Damascus, I came here from Algeria 4 years ago. In 2011 we escaped to Algeria from Libya, but the situation was really bad there, so we came to Syria to find a little freer, but we feel very bad, even if we are in Damascus in the capital, we are not safe 100%. The best thing is that at least here the children can go to the school”.
– How many children do you have with Hannibal Gaddafi?
“Three children: the first Hannibal Jr is 13, Alissare is 9 and Ritage is 6 years old”.
– Do you work?
“No, not today, before I worked as a model. How can I have a job now? I’m alone, responsible for everything”.
-What kind of man is Hannibal? Is it really a violent man?
“Absolutely not! He’s a strong man, but he has a good heart. He looks a lot like his father, he has a vision and is very serious like him, the children love him very much and he suffers very much without us”.
-I briefly read his dossier, would you like to summarize it with me?
“On 11 January 2015, Hannibal was kidnapped in Syria by an armed criminal gang headed by Hassan Yacoub and then forcibly taken to Lebanon via the Bekaa Valley. He was detained by the kidnappers for 7 days, during which he was physically and psychologically tortured to force him to disclose information on the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr, Sheikh Mohammed and Abbas Badruddin, which allegedly their disappearance occurred in Libya in 1978. January 11, 2015, Al-Jadid station broadcast a video showing Hannibal with clear signs of beatings, mutilations and bruises visible on the face, eyes and body. The kidnappers forced my husband to appeal to anyone who had information about the case of Imam Musa Sadr to provide them to the religious leader’s family. After the kidnappers saw that Hannibal did not have any information they were looking for, they handed him before the Lebanese security forces on Baalbek road that arrested him without a warrant, holding him for three days until he was heard by the preliminaries investigation judge who has no jurisdiction over the case since 2008 brought Hannibal for interrogations for the same reason he was kidnapped. In 2008, the Lebanese authorities blamed the disappearance of the Imam, Hannibal’s father, Muammar Gaddafi. In 1978 Hannibal was only two years old, he cannot know anything about this story. The arrest and interrogation of Hannibal was made without any warning or arrest warrant issued by any judicial authority and only few days ago was sentenced to one year and three months, plus a lot of 2 million Lebanese liras for contempt of judiciary”.
– How long the children didn’t see their father?
“The last time we saw him was 3 years ago. Now we can talk always, they gave him a phone to call us sometimes, but it’s not enough because we cannot go to Lebanon. We want to see him…“.
-You are a Lebanese citizen, why cannot you go to Lebanon?
“Because the Syrian authorities don’t let us pass. Not only now because of the war, but even before. I have never stopped asking to visit my country, but I never received any answer from nobody. I did everything possible, I wrote to the Lebanese president, but nothing! The truth is that nobody talks to us, nobody visits us, we are abandoned by everyone! “.
-Not even the Gaddafi family help you?
“They cannot, nobody can come here. My family is in nearby Lebanon, yet I cannot go. There is no logic, I don’t know why. For 3 years I have asked to visit my mother, there is no reason to stop me. I really don’t understand why. I hope you can understand me, can you imagine what means for a single woman like me to provide for everything, with 3 children in a country in war? ”
– Do you have a passport? Do the children have the documents?
“Me only, I have the Lebanese passport”.
-Do you think that things would have been easier if you don’t have the surname Gaddafi in your passport?
“Surely, there is no doubt …”.
– Do you want to make an appeal to the international institutions? To the Lebanese Government and to all those who are reading us?
“I only ask to can visit my country, my mother. Children are suffering a lot without a family, they want to see their father, they want to feel like all their friends and lead a normal life. We call for the humanitarian organizations to visit Hannibal and take immediate measures for unconditional release of him”.
Aline and Hannibal hope that this interview can shed light on their case. A sincere and heartfelt appeal for their three beloved children, whom also seem forgotten from their own country, though Libya asked to Lebanese authorities the release of Hannibal as Libyan citizen before. Even forgotten by those Libyans who with banners and green flags worship other idols of the family. In the silence of the international Institutions, which seem to have leave behind even those ideals expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed on December 10, 1948, which establishes the same rights for all, “without distinction, for reasons of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion or otherwise, of national or social origin, wealth, birth or other condition“. However, it’s like if there is an exception, which more than a name certainly has a surname: Gaddafi.