Gaddafi son cannot get fair trial in Libya: lawyers

AMSTERDAM Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:14pm EDT

Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya November 19, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar El-Darwish

Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya November 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar El-Darwish

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam cannot get a fair trial in Libya and he claims if he is executed it would be tantamount to murder, his defense lawyers said on Tuesday in a filing to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder and be done with it," Saif al-Islam said, according to his lawyers, referring to a possible trial in Libya, where he is being detained by tribesmen.

An ICC defense lawyer and three other staff were detained by local authorities in Libya's western mountain city of Zintan in June after meeting Saif al-Islam, prompting frantic attempts to secure their release.

During that June meeting, Saif al-Islam's court-appointed lawyer was prevented from taking a sworn statement by an official who had been posing as an illiterate guard, they said.

"The 'guard', who is actually Mr. Ahmed Amer - a councilor who speaks several languages - was planted in the room to deliberately trick the delegation," the filing said.

"He came back into the room and (in the presence of the ICC interpreter), started shouting that this statement was very dangerous, violated Libyan national security, and that the Defence could not have it back."

British-educated Saif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC for allegedly ordering terror and killings during the two-week uprising that brought down his father. Libya wants to try Saif al-Islam in its own courts and is resisting attempts to transfer him to The Hague.

Lawyers said their meeting with Saif al-Islam was cut short after 45 minutes, and that the guard confiscated documents they needed to consult with him about, including his sworn statement.

Melinda Taylor, Saif al-Islam's court-appointed lawyer, her Lebanese interpreter, and two other staff, from Russia and Spain, were held for 26 days after the meeting.

"The sole rationale for doing so appears to be that the Libyan authorities consider it to be illegal, treason, or a violation of national security for either Mr. Gaddafi or his Counsel to indicate that Mr. Gaddafi does not wish to be tried before Libyan courts," the lawyers said in the filing.

Zintan authorities accused Taylor and her Lebanese interpreter of endangering national security by bringing sensitive documents to Saif al-Islam, a charge they deny.

The defence team accused the Libyans of using their detention to influence the outcome of the Libyan elections.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (3)
MetalHead8 wrote:
After what Gaddafi has done, the only thing left to do is send him to ICC and let them deal with it

Jul 31, 2012 3:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
owl905 wrote:
Ms Taylor doth protest too much. She was caught red-handed with documents and devices that violated the visitation agreement. If she truly believes her claim about Gaddafi not getting a fair trial in Libya, the first thing she needs to do is remove herself from the process. She did much to damage negotiations for Saif’s trial by the ICC. The Libyans have every reason to mistrust both the messengers and the messages.

Jul 31, 2012 7:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Achoquenao wrote:
This entire ICC intervenion in Libya has been a charade – and it continues. Fact is Saif could not be found guilty in any legitimate and fair trial. The Nato-affiliated folks, on the other hand, are clearly guilty of countless crimes – including the death and destruction they brought to a formerly peaceful and sovereign nation.

Jul 31, 2012 12:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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