March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Lebanese Shiite leader Imam Moussa al-Sadr, who has been missing for 33 years, is still alive and in detention in Libya, his daughter said.
“The information we have confirms that he is alive and in jail in Libya,” Houra al-Sadr said in a phone interview late yesterday in Tehran. That information is “more reliable” than other accounts stating he was killed at the orders of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, she said.
Houra al-Sadr, 48, declined to cite documents or say who she had been in touch with about her father’s fate, citing the “sensitivity” of the case.
Moussa al-Sadr, chairman of Lebanon’s Shiite Islamic Council, disappeared during a visit to Libya in August 1978 along with two of his aides. Libyan officials have said that al- Sadr left the country for Italy, while Italian authorities denied it. Speculation over the Iranian-born cleric’s fate has revived in the past month as Libya descended into civil war and officials defected from Qaddafi’s regime.
The disappearance of al-Sadr, who had helped mobilize Lebanon’s Shiite Muslim population by pressing for better social and economic conditions, strained relations between Libya and Lebanon. A Beirut court in 2008 summoned Qaddafi to answer questions about the case. (...).
Other members of the Libyan opposition, including military officers, said the cleric had been seen alive in a Libyan jail, according to the Associated Press and some Arab media.
“We have had contradictory statements over 33 years, and contradictions have intensified in recent weeks,” Chibli Mallat, a lawyer for the Sadr family and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in an e- mail. “There are precedents in Libya for prisoners of opinion who disappeared in 1973, and who were released by Qaddafi in 2002. Their very names had been forgotten.”