[QODLink]
Africa
Libya opens first trial of a loyalist
Buzeid Dorda, a former intelligence chief, appeared in the first civilian hearing since last year's uprising.
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 15:39
The trial will be seen as a test of Libya's ability to try high profile loyalists and family members of Gaddafi [Reuters]

The first trial of a senior official in the Muammar Gaddafi's regime since rebels won a decisive victory in last year's war has opened.

The trial of Buzeid Dorda, a former Gaddafi intelligence chief which began on Tuesday, will be seen as a test of the Libyan government's ability to try high profile loyalists and family members of the deposed leader.

Under heavy security, Dorda, arrested last September in Tripoli, appeared in the dock in the first such civilian hearing since last year's uprising.

Judge Al-Ajaily Al-Maaloul read six charges against him - conspiring to kill civilians, providing weapons for the purpose of killing civilians, conspiring to provoke civil war, denying people their right to protest, unlawful detention and abuse of authority.

"I deny all these points. I will supply the evidence when I testify in court," Dorda said.

The judge adjourned the trial until June 26, as demanded by defence lawyer Dhao Al-Mansouri Awon, who said he and his client needed more time to study the case files.

Wearing a blue prison inmate uniform, Dorda walked into the court using two canes.

Officials said he had injured his legs about two months ago when he tried to escape and fell from a second floor window.

He was treated in hospital, they said.

Technocrat

Dorda had been with Gaddafi since he first seized power in a 1969 coup. He was known as a technocrat, not an intelligence officer by training.

Libyans do not associate him with some of the earlier and bloodiest periods in Gaddafi's autocracy such as the 1980s, reports Reuters news agency.

He is believed to have taken on his job in 2009.

Members of his family attended the trial, including his brother Abdullah, who had visited Dorda on Friday and said he was still in pain from his leg injury.

"I am sure that a Libyan judge will give my brother a fair hearing," he said.

Libya's new rulers are keen to try Gaddafi's family members and loyalists at home, but human rights activists worry that a weak central government and a lack of rule of law could rob them of the right to a fair trial.

Libya wants to try Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, who was captured in November and is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

If the ICC rules Libya is unwilling or unable to try Saif al-Islam, who is accused of crimes against humanity over the killing of civilian protesters, it says it will take jurisdiction of the case.

416

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
An estimated 36 people die each day in embattled town where pro-Russia rebel separatists fight Ukrainian soldiers.
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
join our mailing list