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Libya judge suspends trial of senior Gaddafi intelligence official

A Libyan judge on Tuesday temporarily suspended the trial of former intelligence chief Buzeid Dorda following claims by his defense lawyer that the trial was unconstitutional. Dorda, who was intelligence chief under former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], had argued that his trial should not go forward as he was denied access to a lawyer [Reuters report] during his 10-month detention prior to the trial. The judge overseeing the case, Al-Ajaily Al-Maaloul, is considering the claims by Dorda's lawyer to decide if the Libyan court will proceed with the case. Dorda is charged with numerous crimes including conspiring to kill civilians and conspiring to provoke civil war. Dorda had previously denied all charges [BBC report].

The trials of officials like Dorda and of Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam [JURIST news archives], are being considered by some as test cases of Libya's ability to try high-profile Gaddafi associates, while many feel that the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] would be a more suitable venue. In August Saif al-Islam said that he would prefer a trial in the ICC [JURIST report] because he felt he could not get a fair trial in Libya. In June four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained [JURIST report] by Libyan security forces. They were in custody for nearly four weeks. Upon her release [JURIST report], ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor said she did not believe Saif al-Islam would receive a fair trial in the country.

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