Muammar Gaddafi's wife
1952 (age 69)
Safia Farkash el-Brasai
Muammar Gaddafi (m. 1970–2011)
Muammar Gaddafi, Ayesha Gaddafi, Saif al‑Islam Gaddafi, Al‑Saadi Gaddafi, Muhammad Gaddafi
Safia Farkash El Hadad (born 1952) is the widow of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and mother of seven of his eight biological children.
- Gaddafis widow allowed back to Libya
- Early life
- Personal life
- Business and other interests
- Libyan civil war
- Sanctions after Gaddafi
Gaddafi's widow allowed back to Libya
There are two different stories about her origin. One is that Farkash is from a family from the Eastern Libyan Barasa tribe and that she was born in Bayda and was trained as a nurse.
She met Gaddafi when he was hospitalised and treated for appendicitis in 1970. She became his second wife when they married in Tripoli during the same year.
Farkash has seven biological children with Gaddafi and two adopted children:
She and Gaddafi are rumored to have adopted two children, Hanna and Milad.
The family's main residence was in the Bab al-Azizia military barracks, located in the southern suburbs of Tripoli.
Business and other interests
Farkash kept a low profile during the initial period of her marriage to Gaddafi; however, after the release on license of Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi in 2009, she took a more public profile. She organised a party covered by the local media to celebrate the anniversary of the 1969 revolution that brought her husband to power, and in 2010 attended the graduation of female police students.
In 2008, Farkash was elected vice president to the African First Ladies Organization in a meeting of African Union leaders in Sharm al-Sheikh, even though she was not present at the meeting, and has never taken part in activities related to it.
Farkash owns airline Buraq Air, headquartered at Mittiga International Airport. Operated with the approval of her husband, even though it is a rival of the Libyan national carrier, it monopolizes the transfer of Libyan Hajj pilgrims to Mecca.
It has been estimated that Farkash has an independent wealth of US$30Bn, which includes 20 tons of gold.
Libyan civil war
Farkash stayed with her husband and family through the Libyan Civil War, at their home in Tripoli. After a first round of United Nations sanctions froze the overseas assets of Libya and those personally held by Gaddafi, the governments of France and the United Kingdom enabled a second round of sanctions, which froze an estimated £18Bn of state and personal assets control by Farkash. In May 2011, she gave her first press interview to CNN reporter Nima Elbagir, via mobile telephone.
As the Battle for Tripoli reached a climax in mid-August, the family were forced to abandon their fortified compound. On 27 August 2011, it was reported by the Egyptian news agency Mena that Libyan rebel fighters had seen six armoured Mercedes-Benz sedans, possibly carrying top Gaddafi regime figures, cross the border at the south-western Libyan town of Ghadames towards Algeria, which at the time was denied by the Algerian authorities. On 29 August, the Algerian government officially announced that Safia together with daughter Ayesha and sons Muhammad and Hannibal, had crossed into Algeria early on 29 August. An Algerian Foreign Ministry official said all the people in the convoy were now in Algiers, and that none of them had been named in warrants issued by the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes charges. Mourad Benmehidi, the Algerian permanent representative to the United Nations, later confirmed the details of the statement. The family had arrived at a Sahara desert entry point, in a Mercedes and a bus at 8:45 a.m. local time. The exact number of people in the party was unconfirmed, but there were "many children" and they did not include Gaddafi. Resultantly the group was allowed in on humanitarian grounds, and the Algerian government had since informed the head of the Libyan National Transitional Council, who had made no official request for their return. In October 2012 they left a hideaway in Algeria to go to Oman, where they were granted political asylum.
Sanctions after Gaddafi
The central bank of the United Arab Emirates ordered in March 2012 all banks and financial institutions in the country to freeze the accounts of Safia Farkash and other high-ranking officials of the Gaddafi regime. This order was declared in accordance with the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 1970 of 2011, addressing fifteen Libyans whose bank accounts had been frozen for their involvement in violence against the people of Libya. In April 2016, she was allowed to return to her home in Bayda by the government as part of their efforts to pacify Gadaffi loyalists.