Libya: Gaddafi sons Saadi and Salif al-Islam on trial

Ex regime officials in court, but trial adjourned to 4/27

14 April, 19:13

    Combo of photos of Al-Saadi Gaddafi (R), the third son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar  Gaddafi, and of his brother Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (L) Combo of photos of Al-Saadi Gaddafi (R), the third son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and of his brother Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (L)

    (ANSAmed) - TRIPOLI, APRIL 14 - A trial against 37 top Gaddafi-era officials, including two of the ex dictator's surviving sons, resumed Monday in Tripoli's Hadb prison but was immediately adjourned to April 27 after just 23 defendants showed up. Several journalists, relatives of the defendants, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) activists were denied access to the proceedings today, HRW made known.

    Among those absent were Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam and Saadi al-Islam. Saif al-Islam was captured in November 2011 by militias in the town of Zintan, south west of Tripoli. Despite government pressure to transfer him to a prison in the capital, the militias have held on to him, citing security security reasons.

    He will attend the next trial hearing via videoconferencing, as will other defendants who are being held in the city of Misrata, the prosecution said at today's hearing.

    Saadi al-Islam was extradited last month from Niger, where he fled during the 2011 revolution that ousted his father, and is being held in Hadb prison. Prosecutors are still investigating his role in the repression of that uprising.

    Gaddafi's widow, Safia, and their children Aisha, Hannibal and Muhammad are in Algeria and Oman, where they fled in 2011.

    Another three sons died during the revolution. Former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, ex premier Baghdadi Mahmudi, and a number of former regime officials were present today in court to answer charges of repression during the 2011 revolution in a trial that could reveal many behind-the-scenes details of the Gaddafi dictatorship.

    Libya has so far resisted international pressure to hand Saif al-Islam over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which in June 2011 issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of crimes against humanity perpetrated during the repression of the 2011 protests. Libya has said it will guarantee the right of Gaddafi's son and heir to a fair trial, but HRW on Monday issued another warning that the 37 defendants are not likely to get fair trials, since at least two of them, Senussi and Saif al-Islam, told HRW they have yet to meet with a lawyer. Another issue is the security of the judiciary and their relatives, after Premier Abdullah al-Thani threw in the towel yesterday following an attack against him and his family. Judges, lawyers and prosecutors have in recent months been targeted by death threats and numerous attacks on the part of out-of-control militias and unidentified groups, particularly in eastern Libya. (ANSAmed).

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