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Qaddafi's son released after more than 5 years in detention, captors say

In this Nov. 19, 2011, file photo, Seif al-Islam is seen after his capture in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Zintan, a town south of the capital Tripoli, Libya.

Ammar El-Darwish/AP

BENGHAZI, Libya -- Seif al-Islam, the son and one-time heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has been released after more than five years in detention, his captors said on Saturday. 

A statement by his captors, the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion, said Seif al-Islam was released on Friday, but gave no details on his whereabouts. Battalion officials reached by The Associated Press at Zintan, a town south of the capital Tripoli where it is based, confirmed his release. They declined to disclose his whereabouts, citing concerns over his safety. 

They said his release was decided as part of a recent pardon issued by the Libyan parliament based in the country's eastern region.

The parliament in the city of Tobruk is part of one of three rival administrations in Libya, evidence of the chaos that has prevailed in the country since Qaddafi's ouster and death.

Qaddafi's son was captured by the battalion's fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled Qaddafi after more than 40 years in power. He was later killed.

The uprising later plunged the oil-rich North African nation into a ruinous civil war in which Seif al-Islam led Qaddafi's loyalist forces against the rebels.