Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appears in Libyan court

Friday 18 January 2013 12.16
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was captured in November 2011
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was captured in November 2011

Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam has appeared in a court for the first time since his capture more than a year ago, Libya's public prosecutor's office said.

The son of the former Libyan leader was in court in the western town of Zintan, where he is being held by former rebels, to face charges related to a visit by an International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyer last year.

The court hearing was related to a meeting Gaddafi had with his ICC-appointed lawyer last June.

The lawyer, Australian Melinda Taylor, was herself arrested and held for three weeks after that, accused of handing her client documents that could endanger national security.

"He is charged with involvement with the ICC delegation which is accused of carrying papers and other things related to the security of the Libyan state," Taha Baara, spokesman for the prosecutor, told Reuters.

"Investigations for trying him for war crimes are over and he will be put on trial for that at a later time," he said.

Libya has resisted the ICC's request to extradite Saif al-Islam for trial in The Hague, saying it wants to prosecute him at home, where he could face the death penalty.

An ICC spokesperson said the court was not aware of the proceedings and declined to comment.

Mr Baara said the Zintan tribunal would convene again on 2 May.

Elsewhere in Libya, FBI Director Robert Mueller visited Libya as US investigators continued their inquiry into the September attack in Benghazi in which US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died.

The FBI official said: "The director's visit was an opportunity to discuss ongoing cooperation on a number of issues."

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