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Human Rights Watch calls for basic rights for Saif Qaddafi and detained former officials

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the prosecution of Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and other former regime officials “will be no more credible than a kangaroo court” following interviews with the detained men.

Nadim Houry, Middle East and North Africa deputy director for the international NGO, said the Libyan authorities needed to make greater efforts to ensure detained former officials had adequate legal council and the opportunity to defend themselves fairly before a judge. He added that their prosecution would have no credibility if they were denied basic rights to due process.

HRW spoke to Saif Al-Islam for 45 minutes in Zintan where he is being held as well as interviewed former military intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi and former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi and Abuzaid Dorda in Al-Hadba Prison for 15 to 20 minutes each.

Qaddafi and Senussi are said to have told interviewers that they had not been given access to lawyers, while Dorda and Al-Mahmoudi said they have been denied adequate access to legal counsel.

According to HRW, all four detainees complained they had had no lawyers present during interrogations, had not been given the right to remain silent or known the identity of their interrogators. They also said they had been denied an opportunity to review the evidence submitted against them. Islam said he had not had an opportunity to appear before a judge in any of the cases in which he is implicated.

A Tripoli court ruled in October that 31 former senior Qaddafi-era officials, including Islam, Senussi, Dorda and Mahmoudi, should be sent for trial on charges ranging from mass murder, to incitement to rape and corruption.

Saif Al-Islam was captured in November 2011 and has been held since then in Zintan. His captors have frequently blocked requests for his transfer to Tripoli to stand trial.

Article by Callum Paton, Libya Herald.

This article was originally published here.

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