Gaddafi's last premier trial adjourned

2013-01-14 19:19
Baghdadi al-Mahmudi. (AP)

Baghdadi al-Mahmudi. (AP)

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Tripoli - A Libyan court on Monday adjourned to 11 February the trial of Muammar Gaddafi's last premier Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, accused of killing civilians and financial crimes.

Defence lawyers had asked for the delay to allow time to summon witnesses and the judge demanded that all witnesses testify in a single hearing.

"We have two witnesses in custody, Mohamed Abubakar Dhib and Abdelati al-Obeidi, who have been informed by the prosecution. We have other witnesses outside that we could not inform in time," a defence lawyer said.

Dhib was a deputy premier and Obeidi a foreign minister during Gaddafi's rule.

Along with Seif al-Islam, the toppled dictator's most prominent son, Mahmudi is one of the few remaining keepers of the many state secrets of Gaddafi's regime.

A doctor by training, Mahmudi was loyal to Gaddafi until the end, serving as premier from 2006 up to the final days of his regime, while also overseeing vast fortunes in the oil-rich nation.

Mahmudi fled to neighbouring Tunisia in September 2011 shortly after rebels seized Tripoli and effectively put an end to more than four decades of iron-fisted Gaddafi rule.

He was extradited to Libya on 24 June last year, despite warnings from human rights groups that he could face the death penalty, and has protested his innocence to journalists visiting his prison.

"I am not guilty, not guilty, not guilty," he said at the time.

Traditional costume

On Monday, he appeared in the dock, dressed in traditional Libyan costume.

He was flanked by two co-defendants, Mabruk Zahmul and Amer Salah Tirfas, who managed a trade and investment company run by Seif al-Islam.

The three are accused of "abusing public funds" and committing acts aiming to "unjustly kill people" during the 2011 uprising that led to Gaddafi's ousting and death.

They allegedly funnelled €19m to private accounts in Tunisia, and used it for logistical support to loyalist forces as they sought to crush the anti-Gaddafi revolt.

Zahmul's lawyer presented four witnesses on Monday, including a former officer under Gaddafi.

Monday's testimony sought to establish whether Zahmul, in charge of marketing at a state oil company, Brega Petroleum Marketing Company (BPMC), ordered the supply of oil and gas to pro-Gaddafi units during the war.

His defence sought to prove he made no direct orders to that effect.

Read more on:    baghdadi al-mahmudi  |  libya  |  north africa
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