Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kadhafi son Seif to be tried in September

Slain leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam will go on trial next month in the Libyan town of Zintan, a prosecution official said Thursday, despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant.
"A committee from the prosecutor general's office has completed its investigation into the crimes committed by Seif al-Islam from the start of the revolution on February 15 (2011) and has prepared the chargesheet," prosecutor general spokesman Taha Nasser Baara said.
He said the chargesheet would be "approved by the prosecutor general in the coming days and a date set for the September trial opening" in Zintan, a hilltop town 170 kilometres (130 miles) southwest of the Libyan capital.
The official dismissed press reports that the decision was the outcome of negotiations between the prosecutor general's office and a militia comprising former rebels which arrested Seif and has demanded he be tried in Zintan.
"Zintan is a Libyan city and the law allows us to try Seif in the majority of Libyan cities, in that these crimes concern the whole country," Baraa said.
Baraa added that "cities far from the capital are more secure."
The ICC in The Hague had issued a warrant for Seif's arrest on charges of crimes against humanity during the conflict which overthrew his father last year.
Activists have raised concerns that Seif, 40, could face the death penalty if tried in Libya. And Seif, his lawyers said on July 31, is pleading to be put on trial before The Hague-based court for justice to be served.
But the new Libyan authorities have insisted that he stand trial in his home country. They formally challenged on May 1 the ICC's right to try the only son of the late dictator who is being held in the North African nation.
"During investigations, there was no intervention by the ICC," said Baraa, adding that the prosecutor general had "solid proof in the form of sound recordings, images, documents and testimony."
"We believe that this evidence is sufficient to condemn and judge him," added the Libyan official.
Ties between Libya and the international court hit an all time low after the June arrest in Zintan of four ICC envoys, including Australian lawyer Melinda Lawyer, who works with the ICC-appointed defence attorney Xavier-Jean Keita.
Seif's wardens, in a move endorsed by Tripoli, detained the delegation on suspicion of spying, notably accusing Taylor of carrying a pen-camera and a coded letter from Mohammed Ismael, Seif's right hand man who is on the run.

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