Moussa al-Sadr: Clues Across the Sahara

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This picture, taken in the early 1970s, show's Lebanon's Shia Muslim religious leader Moussa al-Sadr with members of his community in Beirut. (Photo: AFP - Archive)

Published Tuesday, March 27, 2012

High-level Lebanese sources revealed to Al-Akhbar that the Lebanese government recently obtained detailed and precise information from Libyan authorities concerning the fate of the disappeared Shia Imam Moussa al-Sadr.

These sources confirmed that the new Libyan government began investigating human rights abuses by Gaddafi’s regime soon after its overthrow last August.

According to the sources, this has already led to uncovering the fate of Libyan dissident and former Foreign Minister Mansour al-Kakhia.

A recent inquiry has established that al-Kakhia was transferred to Libya by Gaddafi’s secret agents. He had disappeared in Cairo in 1993 and was thought to have vanished in Egypt.

Official documents and testimonies uncovered following the uprising show that al-Kakhia arrived in Tobruk a few days after he disappeared. Waiting for him there was Abdallah Senussi, the then head of Libyan intelligence who had been detained 10 days earlier in Mauritania.

Al-Kakhia was transferred to Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, notorious for its cruelty and the savage treatment of prisoners during the Gaddafi era. It seems he remained alive into the 1990s, but his body has not been found yet.

The authoritative sources are making this information known due to its significance in relation to the case of al-Sadr, founder of the Higher Shiite Council in Lebanon, who disappeared in Libya on 31 August 1978.

They relayed information from sources in the Libyan administration who say that al-Sadr’s case was part of an investigation of the fate of about 23,700 disappeared individuals during Gaddafi’s reign.

The Lebanese sources say that authorities here received information from the Libyans that confirmed the following:

1) Al-Sadr disappeared in Libya on 31 August 1978 and remained there. He was detained in Tripoli along with his companions, Sheikh Muhammad Yaacoub, and the journalist Abbas Badreddine.

They were then transferred to a secret location in the south of the country that was directly loyal to Gaddafi.

2) For reasons unknown until now, al-Sadr was transferred back to Abu Salim prison sometime in 1997. He suffered from diabetes but remained alive.

3) He was put in solitary confinement and handled by Abdel Hamid al-Saeh, an official in Gaddafi’s secret service.

Al-Saeh was notorious for his cruelty, having served as head of the Revolutionary Guard, commander of the anti-terrorism department in the secret service, and warden of Abu Salim prison.

The sources add that al-Sadr’s cell was directly below al-Saeh’s office and constantly guarded by two of his men.

4) The guards were recently interrogated by Libyan authorities who documented their statements.

5) During his stay in Abu Salim, al-Sadr started showing symptoms related to diabetes. He was denied treatment or his regular medication. This led to his death due on an unknown date, probably in the early 2000s.

6) When al-Sadr died, Gaddafi ordered that his body should not be buried and should instead remain in the prison cell.

It was later put in a morgue-type fridge and remained under guard for another 10 years, under Gaddafi’s orders.

The two guards remained on duty through the events of 17 February 2011 that led to the regime’s fall.

7) While Tripoli fell to the rebels on 22 August 2011, Abu Salim was heavily shelled.

The bombing targeted the location of Abdul Hamid’s office above al-Sadr’s cell.

The electricity supply was cut off due to the bombing and the prison cell was destroyed completely.

The information received says that al-Sadr’s body was carried to the prison yard along with those killed in the assault.

8) The revolutionaries entered Tripoli after several days of chaos in the capital, especially in the regime’s military and security complexes. When officials from the revolutionary groups reached Abu Salim, they found that the bodies had been transferred to an unknown location.

Preliminary investigations about the whereabouts of al-Sadr’s body began to uncover a number of leads. His body was thought to have been transferred to the central hospital in Tripoli. This was discovered to be untrue.

According to a different account of the fall of Tripoli, the bodies remained in the prison yard for several days. Those that were not identified by family members were carried away and buried in different locations.

This narrows down the possible location of al-Sadr’s body to a few places, currently being searched.

9) There is no information yet on the fate of Yacoub and Badreddine, although the Libyan sources have indicated that this issue is still under investigation.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


I'm no expert on the topic but I have done some research on the topic. I personally think Musa sadr was a very intelligent and charismatic leader. I believe he did I lot of things to improve the lives of not just the shia of the south but the Lebanese people as a whole since he also worked with other groups and faiths. I would like to know what happened to him. I'm sure its safe to say he's dead but why? And I'm sure his family would like to know also .these are only my opinions on the matter. salam to all.Mikhail ibrahimovic

Moussa al-Sadr is alive.
It is false news, and to discourage people
Every moment that passes closer to release him

Great Reply! Genious!!!!

The big question why Ghadaffi kidnapped an official GUEST to Libya !!!!???
I did n t know much about Imam Moussa El Sader before, and with time past .and this topic still open , now started to know how big this man was, he really was the beginning of (Hezallah), he was the man who disappeared 31 Aug 1978 .
on order to understand what happen in Libya we have to understand what happen in Iran:

In January 7, 1978 when an article appeared in the semi-official newspaper Ittila'at attacking him in such terms as a traitor working together with foreign enemies of the country. The next day a furious mass protest took place in Qom; it was suppressed by the security forces with heavy loss of life. This was the first in a series of popular confrontations that, gathering momentum throughout 1978, soon turned into a vast revolutionary movement, demanding the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime and the installation of an Islamic government.

Ayatollah Khomeini arrives in Tehran.
He is received by officers of Royal Air Force
Shah decided to seek the deportation of Ayatollah Khomeini from Iraq, the agreement of the Iraqi government was obtained at a meeting between the Iraqi and Iranian foreign ministers in New York, and on September 24, 1978, the Khomeini's house in Najaf was surrounded by troops. He was informed that his continued residence in Iraq was contingent on his abandoning political activity, a condition he rejected. On October 3, he left Iraq for Kuwait, but was refused entry at the border. After a period of hesitation in which Algeria, Lebanon and Syria were considered as possible destinations, Ayatollah Khomeini embarked for Paris.

Immam Moussa el sader same period , have many enemies , it was a big conspiracy to have shah of Iran with Iraqi help to expel Khumeini , and same time have to do with Immam El Sader disappearance in Libya that same timing , raises many question mark ?? speacially when Ghaddafi in 1983 in his speak mention : That Moussa El sader were traitors to ARABS and he has his ties with Israeli MOSSAD and SAVAK of Iran and that Shah Of Iran Send him to Lebanon
Immam really didn t have many friends (Syria wasn t that keen on religious peoples at that period.)
The first fight to erupted in Lebanon between Iraqi Baath Party supporter and AMAL Movement (Pro El Sadder)
in 1980 /1979??
I guess!! Immam Disappearance has to do with Iraq , Palestinian /Libya/and shah Iran as major parties .
And it was known that Ghaddaffi Is a sick unstable man.
and he been briefed by the enemies of Imam , that he is ( MOSSAD , and SAVAK and that was evident from Ghaddafi talk 1983 .(if Libyan embassy told that at the time , they could say sorry no visa for you, we decline to grant you a visa)
I don t think Immam was kept alive for any period of time .
he been liquidated immediately with his two companion ,
Libyan story of leaving Tripoli on 31 st August 1978 to Italy and their scenario by leaving his stuff/cloths passport in an Italian hotel , and secondly their non cooperation with Lebanese officials investigators was evident and they do have questions to answer ?

No doubt Immam never left Libya ,
according to source , a Tunisian man (DOB 1958) was working at Tripoli Airport he did hear and see immam been taken by Libyan authority and Ghaddaffi was present at Airport and he gave the order " take them to hell, I don t want to see their faces again"
and the the assassination then took place , Ghaddaffi been briefed by the assassination , he said i didnt say finish them off , I said I don t want to see their faces let them go to hell,
then ordered his gang to deal with it to cover up their mistake.
Being his gang and he didn t like Immam and what he been briefed about him by his associate ( as usual the Lebanese political parties members and leaders attending 1st of September day, told Ghaddaffi gangs whay this man is here for , he is MOSSAD , he is the Shah s man in Lebanon ) and that was the trap for Immam by his Lebanese and Palestinian enemies ,
who hates SHIA .
Really I don t understand why Shia been blamed by being pro Israeli all the time until this minutes ??

Libya was a country , it was a gangs or tribal country which been ruled by ruthless man (dictator) so he can do what ever he want .

In normal country if a person is not wanted .you don t give them Visa.
Immam had his fear from visiting Libya , even a child in Lebanon at that period would tell you, if you go to Libya there is no guaranties that you will leave the country alive (1976).
We have a saying : (the one who enter Libya is lost and the one who leave Libya is Born again , long before Immam disappearance ).
Any way Immam could of survived his trip if the Lebanese kept heir mouth shut , but what you can do with too many , competing for Libyan money , arms and donations ??

I make my point here that all Lebanese visited Libya at that year are responsible for Immam disappearance , and they have the clue to what has happened , and they bear the blame for telling lies about Immam Moussa EL sader to Libyan , other wise we will be discussing different topic today .
The other point which is clear , if a country doesnt want a person they will refuse giving him visa, and even he got to the border , they will refuse him entry, and if he enter they will deport him if he is not wanted.
This matter it is got to do with the lies and rumers spread by Lebanese and Palestinian who hate Shia!!!!

Still have a question why Assad of Syria didn t interfere with Libya even though at that time they have good relation with Syria ?
why Immam Khumaini didnt ask the Libyan what happen to Immam?? I know Iran at that time needed Libya s help with arms so they didn t do anything about it?
we know Iraq regimes hate all El Sader family (Saddam assassinated 82 Members of Al Sader family 1979-1980).

Table of Events at that period:

1- Khumeini been expelled from Iraq , 14 Sep 1978

2- Al Sader disappeared In Libya , 31 Aug 1978

3- Al sadder family(Iraq branch ) been liquidated by Sddam regime March /April 1979

4-Iraq /Iran war 1979/1980

5 -Lebanon war going on (Immam was the person to Stop the war in Lebanon ) he wasn t a man of war , he was a peaceful man?? that s doens t suit the Libyans and neither the peoples who crated the Lebanese Civil war

6- Syria would benefit from staying In Lebanon (Syrian entered Lebanon 1976)

i was at abu salim prison in the first days after it's liberation, and there were no bodies left out in the courtyard, as you say. there was an administrative compound that was bombed, but it was bombed several weeks to a month prior to the fall of tripoli, according to former prisoners, and other people on the ground. i met former guards as well, many of whom were trying to prove their lack of love for the old regime, and none, even when asked on the topic of al-sadr, had anything to say, though they were open about much more, including the massacre in the 90's. why ignore one and admit the other? if al-sadr had been there, receiving special guard and whatnot, i think those of us on the ground would have heard more corroborated accounts already from other prison staff who would have known of his detention.

Given the amount of PROVED lies by so-called "authorities" in Libya I wonder how could anyone with even a half of a brain believe them.

Not like your beloved Bashar al Assad

so this is the priority for the lebanese government instead of building Business opportunities. Nice satellite state

Since when does investigating the fate of one of your own citizens, particularly a prominent one, make you a satellite state?

I wonder if you consider begging in the UN to investigate the death of Rafik Hariri, a Saudi citizen (one can only imagine what he did to earn that "privilege"), another action that makes Lebanon a satellite state.

Was this Imam a lebanese citizen or not?

Yes, he was.

Then it`s ok. And now go and kill some syrian children.

Huh? I'm not sure what this has to do with Syria.

I have figured out that every Hezbollah supporter supports Bashar al Assad.

You're a genius, with intellectual capabilities that the rest of us can only dream of. How else could you determine, based on observations of the facts that Musa Sadr was a Lebanese citizen and that Rafik Hariri was a Saudi citizen, that someone is a Hezbollah supporter.

Now go kill some Lebanese and Palestinian children (I've figured out that every Hezbollah opponent supports Israel and its terrorism).

Great Answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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