News Daily Spot: Colonel Gaddafi's UK-educated son sentenced to death for Libya war crimes

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Colonel Gaddafi's UK-educated son sentenced to death for Libya war crimes

EX-LIBYAN dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son has been sentenced to death by firing squad by a Libyan court for war crimes during the 2011 revolution.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi - which means Sword of Islam - was given the death sentence along with eight others at a court in Libya over war crimes linked to the revolution four-years-ago.
The second son of the late Gaddafi - who studied for a PhD at the London School of Economics - was on trial with 36 others also in the Colonel's inner circle, accused of suppressing protests during the uprising.
The 43-year-old appeared in court by video link from the town of Zintan in Libya where he has been held since 2011 by a former rebel group who refuse to release him.
Also sentenced to death today was Gaddafi's former head of intelligence, Abdallah al-Senousi and former Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.
The only member of the Gaddafi family left in Libya following the revolution, Saif al-Islam was previously entertained by the Royal family at Buckingham Palace and at Windsor Castle.
Prosecutors say he was part of his father's plans to "quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against the Gaddafi regime".
Today's trial outcome drew swift criticism abroad, with Human Rights Watch and a prominent international lawyer saying it was riddled with legal flaws and carried out amid widespread lawlessness undermining the credibility of the judiciary.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said defence lawyers lacked full and timely access to case files and several had been unable to meet with clients in private while two quit after receiving threats.
Joe Stork, HRW's deputy Middle East and North Africa director said: "There are serious questions about whether judges and prosecutors can be truly independent where utter lawlessness prevails and certain groups are unashamedly shielded from justice.
"This trial was held in the midst of an armed conflict and a country divided by war where impunity has become the norm.
"The victims of the serious crimes committed during the 2011 uprising deserve justice, but that can only be delivered through fair and transparent proceedings."
Saif al-Islam is wanted by the International Crimnal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity but allowed Tripoli to carry out the trial, despite the ICC not allowing the death penalty.
John Jones, a British lawyer hired to represent Saif al-Islam before the ICC, said a "show trial" led to the death sentences.
He said: "The whole thing is illegitimate from start to finish. It's judicially sanctioned execution."
All nine facing the death penalty will be given the right to appeal.
Others on trial over the war crimes have received sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment.
Tripoli is now controlled by a self-declared government set up after an armed faction called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August, expelling the internationally recognised government, which then decamped to far eastern Libya.
Fighting involving remnants of the armed forces, ex-rebel groups, regional tribes and Islamist militants has sewn chaos in the North African oil-producing country, thwarting any post-Gaddafi transition towards democracy. 
By Alix Culbertson

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