Violent Clashes at Mitiga Base Coincide with Transfer of Defendants from Misrata to Show Trial

Editorial Comment:

At least 2 people were killed and several injured during violent clashes at Mitiga base on Sunday. This occurred the same day that a mock trial was held in Tripoli and prisoners were being transported to Hadba Prison through Mitiga from Misrata, and one unnamed prisoner who was detained at Mitiga. This highlights the danger prisoners are exposed to when trials are being held on militia territory.  – A.V.

Defendants held in Misrata transferred to Tripoli for court hearing
Libya Herald
17 November 2014

The eight Qaddafi-regime era officials being held in Misrata were transferred to Tripoli to appear in court yesterday as part of a slow-moving trial that includes Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam.

There were 31 defendants in the dock at Tripoli Appeals Court in Hadba Prison yesterday, including the eight from Misrata, the Head of the Investigations department at the Attorney General’s office, Sadiq Al-Sour told the Libya Herald. Another defendant was transferred from a prison facility at Mitiga Airport, he said.

There had been no previous mention of one of the defendants being detained in Mitiga, and it is not yet clear who this individual was.

A media representative at Hadba prison today confirmed that the man from Mitiga, who he did not name, was now being held in Hadba prison, upon orders of the Attorney General’s office. Without specifying names or numbers, he said some of the defendants had been returned to Misrata while others remained at Hadba.

Saif again did not appear in court via video link from the mountain town of Zintan where he is currently being held. The reason was the same given at the hearing a fortnight ago, Sour said — the security situation in the Jebel Nafusa, and in particular around Zintan, meant that it was impossible for technicians to reach the town to set up the video link. Saif’s lawyer was present at the hearing, however, he said.

Sour claimed that there were lawyers present for all defendants, including a lawyer for Saif. However, several Libyan TV channels reported that there were many absences among the legal teams for the defence, adding that absentees were issued with fines.

A number of witnesses for the defence were also present in court, Sour said, including those for Qaddafi’s former Prime Minister, Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, who gave evidence.

Lawyers for Abdullah Senussi and Abuzeid Dorda requested that the trial be postponed, he said, because the witnesses for their defence did not attend the hearing. A number of other lawyers also requested adjournment, saying they still needed more time to prepare their cases.

The trial was adjourned until the 30 November.

No date has yet been given for the start of proceedings against Saadi Qaddafi, who will be tried in a separate hearing, as his case started later than the others following his extradition from Niger in March this year. Sour had said previously that a date was expected to be given within the next fortnight.