Late Libyan autocrat Muammar al Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, his former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and his former Prime minister Ali al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, were all handed death sentences for war crimes on Tuesday in a Tripoli courtroom in Al-Hadba prison.
The court session was in a televised session for the passing of the death sentence. The sentences are set to be carried out by firing squad.
Saif al-Islam is one of Gaddafi’s most prominent sons. His father was overthrown during the 2011 Libyan revolution.
Saif al-Islam has been held captive since 2011 by a rebel group in Libya’s eastern Zintan province that opposes the Tripoli government.
Two sons of the late Libyan leader and thirty others of his former government associates were tried for corruption and war crimes on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Many of the defendants were absent, including those sentenced to death, and many did not have access to lawyers, “So far, there have been problems with legal representation. Many of those on trial did not a have a lawyer from the beginning – the cornerstone of a fair trial,” said Hanan Salah, a Libya researcher who works with Human Rights Watch.
Saif al-Islam will be given the right to appeal the death sentence, according to the BBC's correspondent John Simpson, who is in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
John Jones, Saif al-Islam’s attorney, based in Amsterdam said the whole trail is a sham.
"The Libyan Minister of Justice said the trial itself is illegal." said Jones to Reuters. He has been pushing for his client to be tried before the International Tribunal Hague, where they can not be sentenced to death. Although he is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well.
"The whole trial, illegal from the beginning to the end .. This is legally mandated murder"