Three ways Gaddafi’s son claims a Tripoli prison violated his human rights

Published October 26th, 2015 - 03:41 GMT
Al-Saadi Gaddafi was extradited in March 2014 and has been held at Libya's al-Hadba prison. (AFP/File)
Al-Saadi Gaddafi was extradited in March 2014 and has been held at Libya's al-Hadba prison. (AFP/File)

After former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed, his family members felt the full effect of the Arab Spring revolution as most of them fled the country.

One of his sons, al-Saadi Gaddafi, has remained a political prisoner since March 2014. Held in a Tripoli prison, Gaddafi became the top of human rights concerns for the detainees. 

Human Rights Watch on Monday published an exclusive interview with Gaddafi, reportedly the first time the detainee has spoken to an international rights organization. The interview was a follow-up of abuse allegations after a video in August appeared to show Gaddafi being beaten by prison guards.

Gaddafi says he has so far been charged for first-degree murder, illegal alcohol consumption and "depravation of liberty," according to HRW. The international organization also met with three other detainees — a former military intelligence chief and two former prime ministers — who were all sentenced to death. They all claimed similar due process violations. 

Here are the claims Gaddafi makes that would violate his human rights:

1. No access to a lawyer. Gaddafi says throughout his pre-trial and investigation, he had no legal representation. He got a lawyer around the start of his trial in May, over a year after his extradition in Niger. But Gaddafi says even then, he had limited private meetings with his attorney due to "security concerns." 

2. His defense witnesses were afraid to come forward. With intimidation and the lack of a witness protection program, witnesses who Gaddafi says would help his case have been scared to talk. 

3. Ill treatment during interrogations. Gaddafi says he was refused the presence of a lawyer, threatened and abused while being questioned. The video published months earlier seems to corroborate his allegations. 

The prison is controlled by Libya Dawn, a group allied with the Tripoli-based rival government. HRW urged an international investigation into the detainees' treatment.

“The Supreme Court needs to address the many allegations of grave due process violations by the defendants and their lawyers when it considers the appeals of the verdicts against the former officials,” MENA Director Sarah Leah Whitson said. 

By Hayat Norimine


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