Libya court acquits Saadi Gaddafi of murdering football coach

Tripoli's court of appeals has acquitted Saadi Gaddafi, a son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, of murdering a football coach in 2005, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

The court's criminal chamber acquitted Saadi Gaddafi on Tuesday of charges of "voluntary homicide", the source said on condition of anonymity.

The former ruler's son was accused of murdering Bashir al-Rayani, a former footballer and coach of Tripoli's Al-Ittihad football club, where Gaddafi played, in 2005.

The judicial source added that the ministry of justice asked the supreme court on Wednesday to submit an update on the other cases involving Gaddafi.

Extradited from Niger on March 6, 2014, Gaddafi is also being tried, among others, for alleged involvement in the deadly crackdown on the revolt that toppled his father's regime in 2011. The case has repeatedly been postponed.

Rayani's son, Ali, took to local media to denounce the court's ruling, saying his family would appeal the decision "until justice is served".

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"The case is clear. All the evidence and testimony confirm the responsibility of Saadi Gaddafi," Ali al-Rayani told the 218News channel.

"How is it possible that a criminal whose culpability is confirmed by concrete evidence can be acquitted... It's impossible!" he said.

"We could not get justice under his father's regime, we will get it now, I'm confident!"

Of Gaddafi's seven sons, three died when they were killed during the uprising, as was their father.

After playing with Libyan clubs, Saadi Gaddafi signed in 2003 with Italy's Perugia club, whose management took him on at the request of then Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, who had close ties with the Libyan regime.

But even though he was a part of the team, Saadi Gaddafi rarely stepped foot on the field, appearing only twice on the substitutes' bench.

He was suspended for three months in his second season with the team for doping.

His greatest achievement was playing 15 minutes against Juventus in May 2004.

In June 2005, he joined Udinese, with whom he played 11 minutes. The following year he joined Sampdoria of Genoa, where he played less than 10 minutes all season.


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