Muammar Gaddafi (7 June 1942 -20 October 2011) was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist.
He became the de facto leader of Libya on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of young Libyan Army officers against King Idris I in a bloodless coup d’état.
After seizing control of the government, he ruled as an authoritarian dictator for more than 40 years before he was overthrown in 2011.
The deposed leader was captured and killed on 20 October 2011 during the Battle of Sirte, months into the NATO-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule.
Although he was a highly divisive figure, his killing was criticized by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as violation of international law.
Gaddafi dominated Libya’s politics for decades and was decorated with various awards and praised for his anti-imperialist stance, support for Arab—and then African—unity, as well as for significant improvements that his government brought to the Libyan people’s quality of life.
In contrast, many Libyans strongly opposed Gaddafi’s social and economic reforms. He was posthumously accused of sexual abuse. He was also condemned by many as a dictator whose authoritarian administration systematically violated human rights and financed global terrorism.
Ten years after he was slain by Libyan rebels, the North African country is still struggling to emerge from the violence sparked by his overthrow.
Libya has fractured along regional and ideological lines, with an assortment of mafia-like militias and their foreign backers vying for control of the oil-rich country.
A year-long ceasefire and a UN-led peace process have barely resolved the deep divisions, although a lot of hope is put in the upcoming election.
The ceasefire agreed to in October 2020 continues to hold and the Government of National Unity is hanging on as Libya’s sole government. The presidential poll is set for December 24 and legislative elections in January