BEIRUT: There is no strong evidence that missing Lebanese Imam Musa Sadr is dead, former Lebanese minister Tarek Mitri said.
“There is no hard evidence so far of his [Sadr’s] death from those responsible for his kidnapping,” Mitri said in remarks published Thursday by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.
Mitri, who is now the chief of U.N. mission in Libya, said a judge from Libya and another from Lebanon were following up on Sadr’s case.
He said the Lebanese judge “interrogated” the former head of Libyan intelligence Abdullah Sanusi for five hours in Mauritania and also in Tripoli, Libya.
“But so far there is no concrete evidence [regarding Sadr’s fate],” Mitri added.
He said Sinusi did not give accurate information, adding that Sadr’s family is eager to learn his fate.
Sadr, a charismatic leader and one of the pioneers of Shiite empowerment in Lebanon, disappeared while on a visit to Libya in August 1978.
Sheikh Mohammad Yaacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine, who were accompanying Sadr, also went missing.
On a separate issue, Mitri played down rumors that Lebanese businessmen in Libya were being harassed.
“Libyans like Lebanese and they want [Lebanese] to come and invest in Libya,” Mitri said.
He also revealed a Libyan desire to reopen its embassy in Beirut.
Libya closed its embassy in Beirut in 2000 after Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, head of Sadr’s Amal movement, lashed out at the Libyan regime over Sadr’s kidnapping.
Lebanon’s Judicial Council implicated the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and 16 of his aides in Sadr’s disappearance in 2009 and issued arrest warrants against them, further worsening ties between the two countries.