Lawyers for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, have said there can be no fair trial for Saif in Libya. They said Saif believes he should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
The location of the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is still undecided as the ICC and Libyan authorities continue to disagree on the venue. Gaddafi has been detained by Zintan militia since last November when he was captured in southern Libya. The ICC had an arrest warrant for Gaddafi at the time of his capture and remain determined to try him in the Hague, where Gaddafi would not face the death penalty.
Libyan authorities are equally determined to try Gaddafi in Libya, even though they have been unable to charge him with anything more than minor offenses such as Saif's failure to licence his camels. A guilty verdict at a Libyan trial would result in Saif's execution.
Naharnet reported that on Tuesday defense lawyers for Gaddafi filed papers with the ICC that quoted Saif saying "The only way for Libya and the Libyan people to have justice is for the ICC to try this case in a fair, impartial and independent manner."
According to Reuters Gaddaif told his lawyers "I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder and be done with it" as he spoke about a Libyan trial.
In June, an international team of lawyers led by Australian Melinda Taylor were detained by Libyan authorities for more than three weeks. They were accused of carrying suspicious letters and spying material to Saif. In papers filed regarding their detention lawyers said "the sole rationale for doing so appears to be that the Libyan authorities consider it to be illegal, treason, or a violation of national security for either Mr. Gaddafi or his Counsel to indicate that Mr Gaddafi does not wish to be tried before Libyan courts."
The papers went on to allege that a so-called illiterate Libyan guard was planted in the interview room and prevented lawyers from taking a sworn statement from Saif. The plant turned out to be conversant in several languages and objected to the statement on the grounds it violated Libyan national security.
Following her release from detention in Libya Melinda Taylor said she believed it was impossible for Saif to receive a fair and impartial trial in Libya.