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Libyan court rules Gadhafi's son eligible to run for president

The court's decision comes a week after Libya's electoral commission disqualified Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi and 24 other candidates for president.
Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, appears in front of supporters and journalists at his father's residential complex in the Libyan capital Tripoli in the early hours of Aug. 23, 2011.

A court in Libya ruled Thursday that the son of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi is eligible to run for president in the war-torn country’s upcoming election.  

On Thursday, the Sabha Court of Appeal reinstated Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi as a candidate, a member of Gadhafi's legal team told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.  

Last week, the electoral commission disqualified Gadhafi and 24 other candidates from running in the Dec. 24 elections, citing a provision in Libya’s electoral law, which says candidates "must not have been sentenced for a dishonorable crime.” 

Gadhafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity that he is accused of committing during the 2011 revolution. He has denied any wrongdoing. 

A court in Tripoli sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015 over civilian deaths that occurred during the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Gadhafi's father in 2011. The Libyan militia that held him for six years in the mountainous region of Zintan released him two years later. 

Gadhafi had since remained out of public view but in May told The New York Times that he was a free man and preparing his return to political life. Last month, he appeared in the southwestern city of Sebha to submit his paperwork to run in the presidential elections. 

Nearly 100 Libyans have registered as candidates in the United Nations-backed presidential elections. The field includes former Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, eastern-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh ​​and former Prime Minister Ali Zaidan. Renegade commander Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army fought the Tripoli-based government before a UN-facilitated cease-fire ended the conflict, is also running.  

It remains to be seen whether Libya’s elections will proceed as planned. Libya’s rival entities have yet to agree on a constitutional and legal basis for the presidential and parliamentary polls, which were originally both scheduled for the end of the month.

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