Britain confident he will receive a fair trial

Libyan leaders will use the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to demonstrate their difference from his father’s brutal regime, a Foreign Office minister has said.

Tory minister Alistair Burt said the UK government had “confidence” the trial would be held to international standards.

“It’s very important that Saif al-Islam does have a fair trial, that he answers the charges that have been levelled against him by the Libyan people, and we will support that process,” he said.

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“I think the new Libyan government does understand what is at stake here. “

He added: “They want to show that their government is different from the regime, and this trial, this opportunity to demonstrate that, is very important for them.

“I honestly think at this stage that it is much too early and rather presumptuous for all of us to be telling them what to do.

“Safeguards are important, but people are already on their way to work those out with the Libyan authorities.”

He added: “I think there is an issue of sovereignty involved. I think there is an issue of pride of what has been achieved in the revolution in Libya.

“These are people who understand what is at stake and are going to work with the International Criminal Court, and we will provide all assistance to both to find the best answer as to now what to do with the trial and the facing of justice of Saif al-Islam.”

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor Ed Balls insisted Labour had “nothing to fear” about what might come out about the party’s links with the Gaddafi regime.

The senior Labour MP said there “was no doubt” that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the Foreign Office’s intelligence experts thought at the time that talks with the Libyan regime about disarmament were a “positive step forward”.

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He added: “They went in to it with open eyes and the possibility of progress. Now clearly, Col Gaddafi ended up breaking agreements, not making progress, and I don’t think a Labour government, or any government, should have anything to fear from open disclosure.

“I know at that time the motive was the right motive, could you see disarmament and progress on peace.

“That was the right thing to do then.”

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron offered support to the International Criminal Court and the Libyan government to ensure Saif al-Islam faces justice for his role in the “barbaric” reign of terror.