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Libya conflict

Libyan court passes Abu Slim jail massacre case to military tribunals

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A Libyan court said Wednesday it could not rule on the case of a notorious prison massacre under slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, arguing it should be heard by a military tribunal.

In 1996, 1,269 inmates were killed following an uprising at the Abu Slim jail in Tripoli.

Fifteen years later, rare protests by family members demanding to know the truth about the killings helped spark the uprising that toppled Gaddafi.

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But despite his departure and killing in the 2011 revolt, they have yet to receive answers.

A Tripoli appeals court has been examining the case since May 2021, and had been set to deliver a verdict on the case on Wednesday.

But instead, the judge “ruled that the entire case had a military character, as many of those implicated belonged to the military,” a prosecution source told AFP.

“He decided to transfer the entire case to a competent military court.”

The source said the case was now “entirely outside the civilian court system” and in the hands of the military courts.

In 2019, a Libyan court had declared the case inadmissible, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling and later handed the file to a new court.

Wednesday’s ruling is another stage in the Abu Slim families’ long wait for justice.

It was only in 2001 that they were informed that their loved ones had died. Many were buried in mass graves inside the prison, later exhumed after Gaddafi’s fall.

The main suspects are the dictator’s former intelligence chief Abdallah al-Senussi and Mansour Daou, head of Gaddafi’s personal guard.

Other senior regime figures are also on trial in the case.

International rights groups have long called for fair trials and accountability for those involved.

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