Lebanon arrests former MP in connection with Qaddafi kidnap case

Intelligence services brought in former MP Hassan Yaacoub for questioning Thursday morning

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

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

Earlier this week, Lebanese authorities charged Qaddafi with withholding information about the disappearance of revered Shiite 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 Qaddafi from Syria and bring him to Lebanon.

“They discovered that Yaacoub had worked with a woman named Fatima to lure Qaddafi 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 Shiite 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 Qaddafi, and Qaddafi family members were branded personae non gratae by Lebanon, especially among members of the Shiite Muslim community.

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