By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 27 July 2015:
On the eve of the verdicts on charges levelled against 37 leading members of the Qaddafi . . .[restrict]regime, including his son Saif Al-Islam and security chief Abdullah Al-Senussi, the Minister of Justice has condemned the Tripoli trial as illegal and claimed that the judges in the case were acting under duress.
Al-Mabrouk Ghraira Omran, speaking from Beida, called on the international community to accept neither the trials nor the verdicts as being just and fair. He said the cases should only have been heard in an area controlled by the government. He further claimed that the judges in the case were “working at gunpoint and in fear of murder or kidnap”.
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda has however said that she believes that Senussi, whom the ICC had originally demanded be handed over, along with Saif Al-Islam, for prosecution in the Hague, has received a fair trial. It is not clear on what evidence she based this assertion. Confusingly she is however continuing to demand that Saif be surrendered to the ICC on the grounds that he cannot expect a fair trial in Libya.
Meanwhile the Tunisian lawyer for another of the defendants, former premier Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi is claiming that his client has been poisoned and is dying of cancer. Mehdi Bouaouaja said families had visited the accused in Hadba prison and reported that some of them were so ill they could not move.
“We are wondering if there is a link with the death of Mustafa Al-Kharoubi” said the lawyer.
According to the attorney general’s office, Kharoubi died of a cancer in his family’s house after being released for sickness. There were reports however that he was not in fact released but died in prison without relatives being able to visit him.
The Tunisian lawyer also claimed that there were now TB cases in Hadba prison and said the situation there was getting “worse and worse”.
“My client claimed to have been tortured once again”, said Bouaouaja, “He was forced to breath gas and he almost suffocated.” On 20 May, the last time the trial was broadcast, Mahoudi claimed he had been tortured. Bouaouaja said he was planning to make an official complaint.
The attorney general’s office has from the outset of the trial denied any of the prisoners have been tortured.
Another member of Mahmoudi’s Tunisian legal team, Mabrouk Kourchid said in Tunis today that an action was being launched against former Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali because of his role in turning over Mahmoudi to Libya in June 2012. Kourchid maintained that Jebali had no legal power to extradite his client.