Gaddafi's son gets death sentence for crimes in uprising

Seif al-Islam is being held in a Libyan hill town by a militia opposed to the authorities in Tripoli. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Seif al-Islam is being held in a Libyan hill town by a militia opposed to the authorities in Tripoli. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.PHOTO: REUTERS

TRIPOLI • A Libyan court has sentenced slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam and eight other defendants to death for crimes during the 2011 uprising.

Former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi and Gaddafi's last prime minister, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, were also among those sentenced to death.

Seif al-Islam was not in court as he is being held in the south-western hill town of Zintan by a militia opposed to the Tripoli authorities.

The trial, which opened in the Libyan capital in April last year, has been dogged by criticism from human rights watchdogs and by an unresolved dispute with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over jurisdiction in the case of Gaddafi's son.

A total of 37 defendants were on trial charged with crimes including murder and complicity in incitement to rape during the 2011 uprising that toppled the dictatorship.

The militia holding Seif al-Islam is loyal to the internationally recognised government that fled to the remote east last August when a rival militia alliance seized the capital and set up its own administration. Seif al-Islam's appearances before the court have been by video link and there have been none since May last year.

Most other defendants are being held in the capital, but some are in Libya's third city Misrata, which is loyal to the Tripoli authorities.

The United Nations Security Council referred the conflict in Libya to the ICC in February 2011 amid Gaddafi's repression of the popular uprising against his regime at the height of the Arab Spring.

Seif al-Islam is wanted by the Hague-based court on charges of war crimes as well as crimes against humanity.

ICC prosecutors say that he "conceived and orchestrated a plan to deter and quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against Gaddafi's regime".

The ICC has made repeated demands for Libya to hand him over for trial.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2015, with the headline 'Gaddafi's son gets death sentence for crimes in uprising'. Print Edition | Subscribe