A top official of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has been appointed as the Advisor for Maghreb Affairs by the president of the House of Representatives in Tobruk, eastern Libya.
The appointment by House President, Aguilla Saleh Issa, of Mohamed Belgassem Zway, is the first major role for a former Libyan official since Gaddafi was overthrown in October 2011. Zway served as a Secretary-General of the General People’s Congress from 2010 until the revolution. He was arrested, charged and put on trial for his involvement with the former regime.
In June 2013, a court found Zway and fellow defendant Abdulati Al Obeidi not guilty of a charge of maladministration. But Zway was imprisoned on other charges and in July 2015 he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. A year later, he and several other Gaddafi-era figures were released on health grounds.
Zway is believed to have been a close, personal friend of Gaddafi and said to have introduced the former colonel to the man who served as his deputy for almost two decades, Abdessalam Jalloud.
There has been no official reaction to the appointment of the senior Gaddafi official to a top position but his choice is likely to rattle the government in the West who rival the Tobruk-based authorities in the East.