Qaddafi sons due to stand trial in Libya

Qaddafi sons are due to stand trial Monday over abuses committed during Libya's uprising in 2011

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Top figures from ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi's regime, including two of his sons, are due to stand trial Monday over abuses committed during Libya's uprising which toppled him.

The hearing is likely to be postponed for a second time, however, an official in the state prosecutor's office said Sunday.

He said the court still had to decide whether some defendants being held outside Tripoli, where the trial is to take place, can appear via videolink.

Rights groups have voiced doubts whether the Libyan judiciary can guarantee fair trials for officials from the Qaddafi regime, which was overthrown in October 2011.

Highlighting the lawlessness of post-Qaddafi Libya, interim premier Abdullah al-Thinni announced Sunday he was resigning after he and his family had been targeted in an armed attack, less than a week after parliament tapped him to form a new cabinet.

Seif al-Islam, a son of Qaddafi and his heir apparent, is to stand trial along with 30 others, including former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi and Qaddafi's last premier, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi.

Saadi Qaddafi, another of the slain dictator's sons, who was extradited from Niger last month, is to appear in the same case.

Charges against Qaddafi's sons and aides include murder, kidnapping, complicity in incitement to rape, plunder, sabotage, embezzlement of public funds and acts harmful to national unity.

The group were charged in October and their trial was originally due to open on March 24, but it was postponed because some of the defendants were absent, among them Seif who is being held in the western town of Zintan.

The official in the state prosecutor's office, Seddik al-Sour, said Monday's hearing was also likely to be pushed back.

"The trial will probably be postponed again to allow the technical logistics to be in place allowing the link" by satellite with the defendants, Sour said.

The court must rule on whether "it will accept the appearance via videolink of some of the accused who are being held in Zintan or Misrata," Libya's third city, he added.

Sour said the delay should also allow some of the defendants more time to find a lawyer.

Seif has been held in Zintan since he was arrested by rebels in November 2011. The central authorities in Tripoli have tried without success to negotiate his transfer to the capital.

Seif and former spy chief Senussi are wanted for trial by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the uprising.

In May, the ICC rejected Tripoli's request to try him in Libya because of doubts over a fair trial. Tripoli has appealed the decision.

But the ICC last October gave Tripoli the go-ahead to try Senussi inside the country.

Human Rights Watch has called on Libyan authorities to provide proper defence counsel to Seif and his co-defendants to ensure a fair trial.

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