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Libya: Muammar Qaddafi's family; whether his sons hold official positions, in particular his son al-Saedi Muammar (2003 - June 2004)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 15 July 2004
Citation / Document Symbol LBY42763.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Libya: Muammar Qaddafi's family; whether his sons hold official positions, in particular his son al-Saedi Muammar (2003 - June 2004), 15 July 2004, LBY42763.E, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on whether al Saedi (Saadi) Qaddafi has ever held an official government position could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

In a 7 July 2003 article, APS Review Oil Market Trends provided the following information on Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi's children:

According to the article, Qaddafi has seven sons including Saadi who, at 29, is a "football-mad, high-spending playboy." Saadi is a possible successor to his father and a rival to Mohammed, Qaddafi's eldest son from his first marriage. The article also reports that during a July 1996 soccer match, Saadi "persuaded" the referee to award a contested goal so that his team could win. Over 30 people died in the ensuing riots. Mohamed is Qaddafi's eldest son and a rival of Saadi's. Saif al-Islam, a rival of both Mohamed and Saadi, has been involved in Libyan foreign relations and is another possible successor to his father. Among Qaddafi's other sons are Khamis and Mu'tassim, both of whom are in the army; Mu'tassim was forced to flee to Egypt after angering his father by parading his troops around Libya. The APS article mentions another "high-profile" relative of Qaddafi's, Ahmad Qadhafaldam, a cousin who is involved in the country's intelligence service.

Saadi Qaddafi was described in a Reuters article as "the public face of Libya's 'soccer diplomacy'" (25 Aug. 2002). Saadi, who is reportedly worth US$4 billion (UPI 5 May 2004) or approximately CDN$5.3 billion (Bank of Canada 12 July 2004), has held various leadership positions in the world of soccer, including the vice-presidency of the Libyan Football Federation (Panapress 25 May 2003; UEFA 16 June 2003; IHT 12 May 2004), though he is considered the Federation's de-facto leader (Reuters 5 May 2004). As at June 2003, he was also president of the Libyan Olympic Committee (UEFA 16 June 2003), captain of Libya's national soccer team (BBC 16 June 2003), part owner of Italy's top team, Juventus (ibid.; UEFA 16 June 2003), and player for Italy's Perugia team (BBC 16 June 2003; IHT 12 May 2004). On 5 October 2003, Saadi tested positive for performance-enhancing steroids (UPI 5 Nov. 2003) for which he was later suspended, although he alleged that the drugs were used to help treat his back problems (AP 29 Jan. 2004). One source indicated that Saadi is also "an international striker, although he owes his occasional place in the Libyan national side more to his family ties than his ability" (Reuters 5 May 2004). Before joining Perugia, Saadi was apparently removed from a Libyan soccer team after the manager described him as "useless" (UPI 5 May 2004). The manager was promptly fired (ibid.).

Qaddafi's "favourite" son (APS Diplomat News Service 12 Apr. 2004), Saif al-Islam, has been involved in many diplomatic negotiations on behalf of Libya, including those with leaders of the United States (ibid.; Journal Star 28 Dec. 2003), France (Al-Hayat 10 Mar. 2004; Al-Sharq al-Awsat 28 May 2004), and Qatar (AFP 21 Mar. 2004; Maroc Hebdo International 24 Apr. 2004). Saif also played a part in diplomatic negotiations in the moving of five Bulgarian nurses (sentenced to death for allegedly infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV) to new accommodations (BTA 3 June 2004). One source indicated that Saif's father was training him in matters of the government and had given him authority which, in certain respects, surpasses that of ministers (El-Khabar 8 June 2004).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 21 March 2004. "BBC Monitoring News Prospects." (BBC Newsfile/Dialog)

Al-Hayat [London, in Arabic]. 10 Mar. 2004. "Libyan Leader's Son: Only a 'Limited Number of Individuals' Opposed to Reform." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)

Al-Sharq al-Awsat [London, in Arabic]. 28 May 2004. "UK - Arabic Paper Cites Arab, French Sources on Chirac's June Visit to Libya." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)

Arab Press Service Organization (APS) Diplomat News Service. 12 April 2004. Vol 60. "The Libyan Model." (Gale Group/Dialog)

Arab Press Service Organization (APS) Review Oil Market Trends. 7 July 2003. Vol. 61. No. 1. "Libya - The Regime." (Gale Group/Dialog)

Associated Press (AP). 29 January 2004. "Libyan Leader's Son Plays in Friendly During Doping Ban." (Slam! Sports) [Accessed 12 July 2004]

Bank of Canada. 12 July 2004. "Currency Conversion Results." [Accessed 13 July 2004]

BBC News. 16 June 2003. "Gaddafi's Son Joins Italian Football Club." [Accessed 12 July 2004]

Bulgarian Telegraphic Agency (BTA). 3 June 2004. "Press Review." (World News Connection/Dialog).

El-Khabar [Algiers, in Arabic]. 8 June 2004. "Libyan Opponent Says There are Political Prisoners in Country - Algerian Paper." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)

International Herald Tribune (IHT) [London]. 12 May 2004. Rob Hughes. "Politicians Take Field as World Cup Vote Looms." (Dialog)

Journal Star [Peoria, IL]. 28 December 2003. Theo Jean Kenyon. "Promises 'Key' to Libya, US - Local Policy Expert Says Recent Steps Were in Works for Decade." (Dialog)

Maroc Hebdo International [Casablanca, in French]. 24 April 2004. "Morocco: Al-Qadhafi Suspends Help to Moroccan Prisoners in Algeria, Says Paper." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)

Panapress. 25 May 2003. David Jagongo. "Libya: Kadhafi's Son Adds New Dimension to CAF Presidential Race." (The Norwegian Council for Africa) [Accessed 12 July 2004]

Reuters. 5 May 2004. "Libya's Bid Part of Rehabilitation with the World." (Sports Illustrated/CNN) [Accessed 13 July 2004]

_____. 25 August 2002. "Del Piero Double." (Sports Illustrated/CNN) [Accessed 12 July 2004]

Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). 16 June 2003. "Gaddafi's Son Joins Perugia." [Accessed 12 July 2004]

United Press International (UPI). 5 May 2004. "Insider Notes from United Press International for May 5." (The Washington Times) [Accessed 12 July 2004]

_____. 5 November 2003. "Gadhafi's Son Tests Positive for Steroids." (Clarinews) [Accessed 12 July 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Al-Ahram, Al-Fajral al-Jadeed, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Middle East Times, World News Connection (WNC).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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