Gaddafi’s spy chief is yet to see a lawyer

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Muammar al-Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, jailed in Libya for eight months, has not seen a lawyer or been told what charges he faces, Human Rights Watch has said, underscoring concerns about weak rule of law under transitional rule.

Abdullah al-Senussi, once among the most feared members of the Gaddafi regime, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. But Libyan authorities who evolved out of the rebel movement that overthrew Gaddafi in 2011 are resisting an order to hand Mr Senussi over, saying their courts are capable of trying him.

“Libya’s wish to put the people they hold responsible for gross human rights violations on trial is fully understandable,” Sarah Leah Whitson,of Human Rights Watch, said yesterday after the first visit by an international rights group to Senussi’s jail cell.

“But to achieve true justice, they need to give Senussi the rights that the previous government denied Libyans for so long. To start, that means making sure he can consult a lawyer.”