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Court verdicts in Libya complicate chances for peace

A Libyan court handed down a death sentence to Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and former Libyan officials, sparking widespread criticism of the legitimacy of the trials.
Former Prime Minister of Gaddafi's regime, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (C), and other Gaddafi regime officials sit behind bars during a verdict hearing at a courtroom in Tripoli, Libya July 28, 2015. A Libyan court passed a death sentence in absentia on Muammar Gaddafi's most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, on Tuesday for war crimes and acts to crush peaceful protests during the country's 2011 revolution that ended his father's rule. The court also sentenced to death by firing squad eight other former Gaddafi regime

A court in Tripoli sentenced Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and eight former officials to death by firing squad. Saif al-Islam was not present at the court but appeared via video at the start of the proceedings. He is being held in the western mountain town of Zintan, having been captured by Zintan militias in November 2011 after the collapse of his father’s regime under attack by local rebel fighters and a NATO air campaign. Among the former officials tried and convicted were intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, military commander Mansour Dao and external intelligence chief Abu Zeid Dorda.

All the defendants have the right to appeal. Their sentences must be confirmed or rejected by Libya’s Supreme Court within 60 days. The legal proceedings and convictions have elicited condemnation from law experts and international rights groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Bar Association.

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