Supporters of the old regime must have felt deep disappointment by a press statement that has been making the rounds on social media today said to be circulated by Saif’s British lawyer, Karim Khan.
When the news about his release from prison first broke in June, many old regime supporters thought it was only a matter of time before the man who was once seen as heir apparent to Muammar Gaddafi would launch a bid to reclaim his father’s throne.
Yet instead, Mr Gaddafi’s first public statement had far humbler objectives: “Yesterday, 27 November 2017, a court hearing took place in Tobruk in relation to an action that I brought against Mr Abu Baker Bouira. I was compelled to file this action because Abu Baker Bouira had falsely and repeatedly claimed that my doctorate awarded by the London School of Economics had been procured by fraud and was otherwise undeserved,” Mr Gaddafi said in the statement. “Whilst he has offered an apology to me and requested that I withdraw the case, I have declined to do so. The damage to my reputation from these defamatory remarks is real and I have asked the court to make a finding in this regard. Yesterday, the court announced that it would deliver its verdict in the matter on 24 December 2017,” the statement added.
Mr Bouira, an obscure politician from Benghazi and one of the city's representatives in the Libyan parliament, went on TV after the fall of the old regime accusing Saif of buying his doctorate degree.
The other issue addressed in the statement was an article published in UK’s Daily Mail in 2009 claiming that he had bought a house in a prestigious London suburb. The story was picked up by the Libyan media during the 2011 uprising and was used in rebels’ propaganda war against the regime.
“A newspaper in the UK alleged that I purchased a home in Hampstead in North London for £10 million. That story was false. The truth is that I never purchased the house in question. I have never owned it. I never paid for it. I have never even set foot in that house. That house has absolutely nothing to do with me – and never has. I remind all media houses of their ethical obligations to fairly and accurately report facts and not to present falsehoods as the truth. In this regard, I reserve all my legal rights to protect my reputation and to seek recourse against such defamatory statements through the appropriate court. I also hereby wish to clearly state and to give notice to all media houses that I will now initiate legal actions to sue for the libels that have been published against me.”
An 'action plan’ that has been recently launched by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) seeks to conclude Libya’s political transition by holding presidential and legislative elections. It remains unclear whether Mr Gaddafi is taking these legal actions merely to clear his name or to pave the way for his return to the political arena.