The imprisoned son of Libya’s slain dictator Moammar Qaddafi appeared in court on Thursday on charges of harming state security, but the judge adjourned his hearing until Sept. 19 to allow defense lawyers time to study the case.
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the ousted leader’s longtime heir apparent, wore a sky blue safari suit and a pair of sandals. He remained standing throughout the 15-minute hearing in the western Libyan town of Zintan. He smiled at times.
It was his second court appearance since the case opened in January.
Saif al-Islam is also facing charges of attempting to escape prison and insulting Libya’s new flag. The charges are linked to his June meeting with an International Criminal Court delegation accused of smuggling documents and a camera to him in his cell. The four-member team was detained by Zintan rebels but released after the ICC made an apology and pledged to investigate the incident.
The charges are separate from those by the International Criminal Court, which indicted Saif al-Islam for the murder and persecution of protesters in the uprising that ultimately toppled his father's regime in 2011.
According to filings by defense lawyers at the ICC, Saif al-Islam said he wants to be tried for alleged war crimes in the Netherlands, claiming that a trial in Libya would be tantamount to murder. “There will certainly be no justice in the case if the prosecution is based on evidence from torture,” he said. “I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder,” he added.
Seif al-Islam, the most senior member of the Qaddafi regime to be captured by the rebels, is on trial in Zintan, the hometown of the rebels who captured him. The group was part of a larger force that seized the capital, Tripoli, in August 2011, ending more than 40 years of Qaddafi’s rule. The Libyan leader was killed two months later while trying to escape rebel forces storming his hometown of Sirte.
On Thursday, Saif al-Islam told the court that he accepted Mohammed Abu-Bakr and Mabroukah Jomaah Ghenewah as his defense lawyers. The two requested that the proceedings be adjourned so they have time to study the case.
Qaddafi’s son appears in court, case postponed