The putschist General Khalifa Haftar and Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of former strongman Muammar Gaddafi, are expected to first respond to the charges against them ahead of the country’s presidential elections, local media said citing a Libyan prosecutor.
Libyan television al-Ahrar said that military prosecutor Masoud Erhouma had submitted a request to Emad Al-Sayeh, the head of the High National Election Commission, asking to suspend the candidacy of the two men.
The prosecutor asked the two presidential candidates to come before him to answer the murder charges against them.
In his request, Erhouma said that a complaint had been filed against Saif al-Islam and Haftar over the killing of civilians in the town of Espiaa, south of Tripoli, by Russian mercenaries Wagner.
In his unsuccessful attempt to capture Tripoli between April 2019 and June 2020, Haftar was assisted by the Wagner group where massacres were reported against Libyans, including the killings in Espiaa.
However, the military prosecutor did not specify Saif al-Islam’s link with the Espiaa murders.
He added that Haftar is also accused of killing 63 illegal migrants in July 2019 in the town of Tajoura, east of Tripoli, two Libyans in a bombing raid on the town of al-Zawiyah in the northwest. in December 2019 and 26 students during an attack on a military academy in Tripoli in December 2020.
On Sunday, 61 candidates ran for the presidential elections on December 24, including Haftar and Saif al-Islam.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya are scheduled to take place on December 24 as part of a UN-sponsored deal struck by political rivals Libya at meetings in Tunisia on November 15, 2020.
The oil-rich country’s electoral commission on November 8 opened the registration of candidates to the polls despite persistent tensions between parliament, the High Council of State and the government of national unity over electoral powers and laws.
Libyans hope the upcoming elections will help end an armed conflict that has plagued the oil-rich country for years.