Gaddafi era officials stand trial in Libya

Gaddafi era officials stand trial in Libya
Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:37:59

Libya embarks on its most important trial on Thursday in the post-Gaddafi era as the former ruler's son, his intelligence chief and his prime minister face charges that could see them executed.

The aforementioned figures are among a total of 38 defendants, representing much of the former regime's upper echelon, who face accusations ranging from murder and incitement to rape to kidnapping, torture and theft of state assets.

The exception is Saif al-Islam, 41, Muammar Gaddafi's son, who remains in the mountain town of Zintan with the powerful militia which captured him two years ago refusing to hand him over to government custody.

The case against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi explores the excesses and wild years of the former ruler's children.

Gaddafi was an intermediary in his father's foreign dealings, arranging with British authorities the return in 2008 of the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and giving big oil concessions to BP shortly afterwards.

In the early days, Gaddafi portrayed himself as a reformer. That vanished with the coming of war, when he famously wagged his finger at rebels on state television. When he was presented to the world in November 2011, after being captured in the Sahara trying to flee Libya, that finger was missing.

Fears of violence from Gaddafi loyalists saw the authorities switch the trial venue at the eleventh hour, with the case to open within Tripoli's maximum security Hadba prison, where the most are incarcerated.

"We have to take precautions," said the secretary of the indictment hearing, who declined to give his name on security grounds. "Libyan society has strong [tribal] relationships – there are loyalties to some of these men, no matter that bad things happened."

For the moment, say officials, Gaddafi will stay where he is. "Saif is the first defendant on the list. He is still there in Zintan, the problem of being brought here has not been solved," said prosecution official Siddiq Ahmed Issour.

Abdullah al-Senussi, the Gaddafi regime's intelligence chief, is accused of masterminding decades of terror, at home and abroad.

Gaddafi's former Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmuti, 68, extradited from Tunisia last year, faces accusations of massive fraud at the helm of the Libyan Investment Authority, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds.

The trial puts Libya in violation of demands by the international criminal court that Gaddafi and Senussi be handed over to the Hague where they are accused of crimes against humanity.


string(511) "[{"id":"1496299","sort":"3094037","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/19/alalam_635098185416170996_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ICC calls on Libya to hand over Gaddafi’s son"} ,{"id":"1499315","sort":"3094038","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/28/alalam_635105950841240832_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Mass prison break in Libya's Benghazi, 1,000 flee"} ,{"id":"1503360","sort":"3094039","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/08/09/alalam_635116375989414147_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Wave of 'political killings' hits Libya"} ]"