He was one of the last people to see Muammar Gaddafi alive. He was there when the Libyan dictator's convoy was struck by NATO and when he was captured by rebel forces. Now Mansour Iddhow, the former head of Libya's homeland security, has spoken from a Libyan prison with Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley about his former boss' final days.
According to Iddhow, Libya's former leader had no escape plan. After the fall of Tripoli into rebel hands, Gaddafi saw no other option than to head for his home town Sirte. "Gaddafi didn't plan anything, nor did his son Motassim, nor the head of security," Iddhow said. "From the moment we arrived in Sirte, Abdullah Senussi and I advised him to leave because it was a small city and could easily be blocked. It was like a room, with nowhere to go. Staying was suicide. But Gaddafi did not listen to us."
Iddhow's account echoes earlier statements made by Gaddafi's driver Huneish Nasr and bodyguard Mansur Dao.
Huneish Nasr, Gaddafi's driver for 30 years, told The Guardian in an interview that "Gaddafi wasn't scared, but he didn't seem to know what to do."
Nasr told the Guardian:
Everything was exploding. The revolutionaries were coming for us. He wasn't scared, but he didn't seem to know what to do. It was the only time I ever saw him like that.
Bodyguard Mansur Dao, who was also traveling in the convoy, told the Associated Press that Gaddafi was not leading the battle in those final days; instead, his sons were in charge. "We were scared of the airstrikes and the shelling," Dao said, adding that he did not believe that Gaddafi was afraid.
Gaddafi was captured on October 20, 2011, after NATO bombed the convoy in which he was travelling on the outskirts of the city of Sirte. Gaddafi was captured and later died in rebel custody. According to the Associated Press, Gaddafi and his entourage were "largely cut off from the world while on the run, living in abandoned homes without TV, phones or electricity, using candles for light," and the ousted leader spent his time "reading, jotting down notes or brewing tea on a coal stove."
One year after the start of Libya's revolution, thousands of pro-Gaddafi fighters like Mansur Iddhib are held in makeshift prisons, Al Jazeera reports, and many are held captive without charges being filed.
A recent report by rights organization Amnesty International strongly condemned Libya's militias for unlawfully holding Gaddafi loyalists and torturing detainees. Militias have detained thousands of alleged Gaddafi loyalists, held people outside any legal framework, and tortured and killed scores of prisoners, the report notes.
Click here to read Tony Birtley's full report.
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