Tripoli: Almost four years after he was arrested, Muammar Gaddafi`s son Saif al-Islam was on Tuesday handed death sentence over war crimes related to 2011 revolution that saw his father being ousted and slain.
Saif al-Islam was awarded death by firing squad on charges
Besides Saif al-Islam, eight other former officials including his former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and ex-prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, were awarded death penalty on the same charges, Tripoli state prosecutor`s office informed.
Eight other former officials received life sentences and seven were given jail terms of 12 years each, he told a news conference carried by al-Nabaa television. Four were acquitted. All but Saif al-Islam are in judicial custody.
Saif along with many other associates of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi has been on trial for having crushed peaceful protests during the 2011 revolution.
Saif al-Islam, who is being held by a rebel group in the town of Zintan since last four years, was not present in court and the verdict was announced in absentia.
It was unclear whether the sentences in the mass trial of 38 Gadhafi-era figures, only 29 of whom were present, would be carried out. Six others were sentenced to life in prison and four were cleared of charges.
Libya has slid into chaos since the overthrow and killing of Gadhafi. It is now bitterly divided between an elected parliament and government cornered in the country's east, with little power on the ground, and an Islamist militia-backed government in the west that has seized Tripoli.
Since the end of the civil war, Seif al-Islam has been held by a militia in Zintan, which is allied with the Tobruk-based internationally recognized government against the Tripoli one. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.
During the trial, Seif al-Islam was accused of recruiting mercenaries who were given Libyan nationality, planning and carrying out attacks on civilian targets from the air, forming armed groups and shooting into crowds of demonstrators. Among the charges he was convicted of were incitement of murder and rape.
Hundreds of militias in Libya are battling for power and turf in a lawless environment has allowed human traffickers and kidnappers to flourish.
With Agency Inputs