By Libya Herald Staff.
Tripoli, 25 March 2014:
The General National Congress has amended that Libyan Criminal Code to enable Saif . . .[restrict]Al-Islam Qaddafi to “appear” in court in Tripoli where he and 36 other defendants are being tried in Case No. 630 on a range of charges. These include forming armed groups, killing Libyans, bringing mercenaries into the country, theft of public money and crimes against humanity.
Under the two amendments passed on Sunday, court proceedings will be considered public if they are transmitted live via satellite or via screens set up in public places. Defendants and witnesses can also take part in court proceedings elsewhere using a video link.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s spokesman, Saddik Al-Sour, the change was necessary because of there were fears that Saif could be killed while being transferred to Tripoli from Zintan where has been held since being caught near Obari by Zintani units on 19 November 2011.
Previously the Criminal Code insisted that a defendant in a trial appear in person in court – which, in this case meant Tripoli Appeals Court. It is in Hadba Prison, where the majority of the other 36 defendants are being held.
According to Al-Sour, the absence of Saif was the reason for the postponement of Case No. 630. It would now resume in full on 14 April, he said.
However, there was a court hearing in the case yesterday in Hadba Prison, with 23 of the defendants present.
There is also scepticism that the reason for the amendments was that Saif’’s life could be in danger if he were driven the 135 kilometres from Zintan to Tripoli. Zintan has consistently said it would not hand him over to Tripoli.
There has been no indication that it has changed its mind.
The only trial in which he has appeared so far is in Zintan where he has been accused of trying to escape. [/restrict]