Libya's Revolt Could Solve Riddle of Missing Cleric

Moussa al-Sadr disappeared in 1978
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2011 1:02 PM CST
Lebanese school students burn pictures of Moammar Gadhafi and wave portraits of Moussa al-Sadr, during a protest demanding that Libya reveal his fate, Feb. 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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(Newser) – Thanks to the Libyan revolution, Lebanon thinks it may finally learn the answer to a mystery that’s been vexing it for decades: What happened to Moussa al-Sadr? The cleric, a seminal figure in the Shiite empowerment movement, disappeared during a trip to Tripoli in 1978, the AP explains. Now, regime insiders are opening up about the incident as they defect to the opposition. Some say Sadr, now 82, is alive in a Libyan prison. Another says he was killed on Gadhafi’s orders long ago.

Sadr formed Lebanon’s first major Shiite militia and political force, and is so revered that the day of his disappearance is honored annually. When Libya’s protests began, fresh posters of Sadr cropped up around the country. “After Gadhafi's stonewalling and lying for 33 years, there is at last a hope that the imam and his companions are freed, and that the truth emerges,” says the al-Sadr family lawyer.

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