By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 14 April 2014:
The hearing of cases against Saif and Saadi Qaddafi, along with 35 senior former regime . . .[restrict]officials, was today adjourned after less than half an hour of proceedings.
The trial was suspended until 27 April on the grounds that only 23 of the 37 defendants were present.
The scene in court today was one of disorganisation and confusion, despite assurances from authorities beforehand that proceedings would go ahead unimpeded and with full transparency.
Saif, along with seven individuals held in Misrata, did not appear in the courtroom at Hadba Prison via video link as planned, although the specially-installed system was said to be working.
Saadi, who is being held at Hadba, also did not appear, apparently because investigations started when he was extradited from Niger last month had not been completed and charges not yet finalised. Another defendant was absent on medical grounds.
Ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi, former prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, and former foreign minister Abdul Ati Al-Obeid appeared briefly behind the meshed screen of the defendants’ box before being led away once proceedings were halted.
Outside the prison, many journalists, NGO workers and human rights observers were turned away. [/restrict]