Gaddafi’s Son Saif Al-Islam Appears In Libyan Court

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Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has appeared before a court in Libya for the first time since he was captured in 2011, media reported.

The Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday cited the Libyan public prosecutor as saying Gaddafi’s son appeared in a court in the western town of Zintan, where he is facing charges related to a visit by an International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer last year.

Saif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC in The Hague on war crimes charges but this case deals with other charges, the British broadcaster BBC reported. Along with ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor, he is accused of trading information threatening national security.

The trial was postponed until May.

Saif, 40, was considered the most likely successor to Col. Gaddafi and actively supported his father’s attempts to quash the Libyan rebellion in 2011.

Gaddafi’s regime was overthrown in October 2011 by opposition forces with NATO’s assistance after a seven-month civil war. Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for almost 42 years, was captured and killed by rebels near his home town of Sirte on October 20.

Saif was captured in November 2011 by a militia group from Zintan, where he has been held ever since. Libyan officials have refused to hand him over to The Hague.

Saif and his lawyers have asked for a trial in The Hague as they are afraid that he could face death sentence if tried in Libya. The Libyan authorities have promised Saif and former Gaddafi government officials a fair trial.

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