Libya court sentences Gaddafi son to death
Libya court sentences Gaddafi son to death

[JURIST] A court in Tripoli sentenced Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC backgrounder report], and eight others to death for war crimes dating back to the 2011 revolution. Twenty-three other defendants were handed sentences ranging from five years to life in prison. The sentence [Libya Herald report] for Saif al-Islam was handed down in absentia, as he is currently detained [BBC report] by rebels in the city of Zintan. Saif al-Islam and others were accused of suppressing peaceful protests, inciting violence, and murdering protesters. The sentences have been criticized by many international advocacy groups, including Human Rights Watch [official website] which stated the trial was “undermined by serious due process violations” and failed [press release] to deliver justice.

Libya remains politically unstable four years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed Gaddafi. In December the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Support Mission in Libya released a joint report [JURIST report] describing civilian populations in Libya being subjected to shelling, abduction, torture, execution and deliberate destruction of property. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] attributed the potential war crimes to a feud between two Libyan governments and several military groups. In November Chief Prosecutor for the ICC Fatou Bensouda [official profile] warned that increasing violence and political instability in Libya are impeding measures to end impunity [JURIST report]. Earlier that month the Supreme Court in Libya declared the UN-backed elected parliament unconstitutional [JURIST report]. Amnesty International released a report last October accusing rival militias in Libya of committing serious human rights abuses [JURIST report], including war crimes.