Libyan courts `able to try Gaddafi’s spy chief’

Libya has rejected claims that the country’s judiciary is too ramshackle to try Abdullah al-Senussi.

Tripoli: Libya has rejected claims that the country’s judiciary is too ramshackle to try Muammar Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who was recently arrested in Mauritania.

Libya’s National Transitional Council recently “insisted” Senussi be extradited to Libya to face trial.

But the Council’s bid to try the most reviled figure in the Gaddafi regime was in danger of being thwarted after France and the International Criminal Court also filed formal extradition requests with the Mauritanian authorities.

International human rights groups warned that Libya’s judicial system remained too weak to give Senussi a fair trial.

But Libyan officials claimed that they have worked hard to remedy shortfalls, and point to the fact that the country has many well qualified and internationally trained lawyers who can form the basis of a functioning system.

“Our courts are very good, even excellent, especially in Tripoli, and we are able to carry out his trial according to international standards,” The Telegraph quoted Ali Hmeida Ashur, the Libyan justice minister, as saying.

“We expect diplomats and government officials to convince all parties of the need to try Senussi in Libya,” Ashur added.

Senussi is accused of presiding over a system of torture and extra-judicial execution that became the mainstay of a culture of terror in Libya that spanned decades.

Among the most serious charges levied against him is the Abu Salim prison massacre of 1996, when some 1,200 mainly Islamist inmates were shot, bludgeoned or hacked to death.

A French court has already convicted him in absentia of involvement in a 1989 attack on a French plane that killed 170 people, and sentenced him to life in prison.


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