A COURT in Libya yesterday sentenced a son of Muammar Gaddafi to death by firing squad after convicting him of murder and inciting genocide during the 2011 uprising.
The Tripoli court that sentenced Seif al-Islam, who is being held by a militia that refuses to hand him over, also sentenced to death eight others, including former Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi, who is in government custody.
This trial has been plagued by persistent breachesJoe Stork
It was unclear whether the sentences in the mass trial of 38 Gaddafi-era figures, only 29 of whom were present, would be carried out. Six others were sentenced to life in prison and four were cleared of charges.
US-based Human Rights Watch said the trial was “undermined by serious due process violations,” and called on the Supreme Court to independently review the verdict.
“This trial has been plagued by persistent, credible allegations of fair trial breaches that warrant independent and impartial judicial review,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director.
“The victims of the serious crimes committed during the 2011 uprising deserve justice, but that can only be delivered through fair and transparent proceedings.”
Libya has slid into chaos since the overthrow and killing of Gaddafi, who ruled the country for four decades. It is now bitterly divided between an internationally recognised elected parliament and government cornered in Tobruk in the country’s east, with little power on the ground, and an Islamist militia-backed government in the west that has seized the capital, Tripoli.
Since the end of the civil war, Seif al-Islam has been held by a militia in Zintan, which is allied with the Tobruk-based internationally recognised government against the Tripoli one.
The court that convicted him is affiliated with the Tripoli-based government. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity. During the trial, Seif al-Islam was accused of recruiting mercenaries who were given Libyan nationality, planning and carrying out attacks on civilian targets from the air, forming armed groups and shooting into crowds of demonstrators. Among the charges he was convicted of were incitement of murder and rape.
Hundreds of militias in Libya are battling for power and turf in a lawless environment has allowed human traffickers and kidnappers to flourish.
The UN envoy for Libya, meanwhile, has urged the Islamist-led government in Tripoli to sign a peace deal that would establish a unity government. Members of the Tobruk government and regional leaders signed the unity accord in Morocco on 11 July.
Also sentenced to death yesterday were foreign intelligence chief Abu-Zeid Omar-Dawarda and Gaddafi’s former prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.
Saif al-Islam has been held in the mountainous town of Zintan since the end of the war, by rebels who are allied to the