Libyan court sentences 45 to death over protest killings

Fifty-four people sentenced to five years in prison over killings of about 20 people in 2011, as 22 others acquitted.

    A Libyan court has sentenced 45 people to death by firing squad for killings committed in the capital, Tripoli, during the 2011 uprising

    The statement published by the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday did not give any further details about the case.

    However, an official said the sentences were linked to killings perpetrated by forces loyal to former ruler Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was toppled.

    A further 54 people were sentenced to five years in prison over the deaths of at least 20 people, while 22 others were acquitted.

    Defence lawyers and relatives of the accused were present for the verdict, but the defendants were not in court.

    A picture of the proceedings posted by the ministry showed two guards with large guns standing close to black-robed judges inside the courtroom.

    It is not known whether other death sentences handed down in Libya since 2011 have been carried out.

    Rights group Amnesty International, in its latest annual report, described Libya's court system as "dysfunctional."

    The group said many suspects had been held since 2011 with no judicial oversight or means to challenge the legality of their detention.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency


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