By Alexandra Valiente
On July 28, the Tripoli Court of Appeals will decide the fate of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi along with that of 36 former Jamahiriya officials.
Saif will be sentenced in absentia. He has been detained incommunicado in Zintan since his arrest in 2011. He was never permitted to attend the mock trials in Tripoli and proceedings that may have taken place in Zintan are shrouded in secrecy. Saif has been denied legal counsel and contact with family and friends. No witnesses were allowed to testify on his behalf.
(Libya, ICC, and UNSC Violate Saif Gaddafi’s Right to a Fair Trial) | (Urgent: Regarding Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Other Political Prisoners in Libya) | (Mock Trials For Saif Gaddafi and 36 Officials Postponed Until November 30) | (Safia Qaddafi Calls for Justice)
Saif Gaddafi’s first International Criminal Court defense counsel, Ms. Melinda Taylor, was forcibly detained in Zintan. At that time, the Libyan authorities attempted to blackmail Ms. Taylor and the International Criminal Court, promising her immediate release on the condition that she disclosed the location of a key witness who would testify on behalf of Saif Gaddafi. 1
Saif’s current lawyer, John Jones, has had no contact with his client since his appointment three years ago.
Libya’s ongoing violation of the rights of political prisoners has drawn condemnation from the Association of Libyan Lawyers, international human rights organizations, the Red Cross | Red Crescent, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations.
(HRW : Letter to the ICC Prosecutor : Accountability for Serious Crimes in Libya and Justice for Political Prisoners | UN Security Council: Address Libya’s Crimes and the Urgent Needs of Political Prisoners | Fatou Bensouda (ICC) at UNSC on Libya)
There are over 40, 000 political prisoners in Libya, all held in filthy, militia-run detention centers where they endure inhumane conditions, extreme deprivation and routine torture. Many have been executed following kangaroo tribunals or perished from injuries inflicted from beatings. Thousands are detained for having black skin.
And more to the point, it is Da’esh and militias that are in power. Libya has no functioning government.
Thus calls from the United Nations and human rights bodies can find no competent target for their demands.
There is no doubt that each prisoner has been denied a fair trial.
In exceptional cases where prisoners had defense counsel, lawyers were forced to withdraw due to threats to their lives.
All prisoners have been brutally tortured in an effort to force false confessions.
The charges brought against them have been fantastic and unsubstantiated. Hence, prisoners and their defense teams were never permitted to bring evidence or witnesses forward that could irrefutably prove their innocence.
However innocent the prisoners facing sentencing on July 28 may be, the charges leveled against them by the regime carry the penalty of death. The rule of law suspended, their prospects are grim.
If they are murdered, those who have brought about the destruction of the nation will have victory.
Amidst an atmosphere of vengeance, violence and chaos, Libya will be plunged deeper into darkness…a desolation from which it may never recover.
LPNM Statement by the Coordinator of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Kangaroo Court Judges to Sentence former Jamahiriya Officials July 28
Urgent Call : Liberate Libya’s Political Prisoners. Stop Their Execution!
Tripoli Trials a Violation of Every Principle of Justice
LIC STATEMENT ON THE END OF TRIALS