News24

Trial of Gaddafi spy chief adjourned again

2012-07-10 15:10

Tripoli - The Libya trial of ex-intelligence chief Bouzid Dorda, the first of Muammar Gaddafi’s top officials to face justice, was postponed again on Tuesday after the defence team asked for more time to review his case.

"The trial was postponed until August 28 to allow the defence to study the case," defence lawyer Saleh al-Faituri said.

The former foreign intelligence chief, whose trial began on 5 June, is accused of ordering security forces to use live ammunition against demonstrators last year.

He faces five other charges, including detaining people without evidence of any crime and organising members of his tribe into an armed militia with the aim of sparking a civil war.

His is the first public trial of a senior Libyan official accused of killing demonstrators in the 2011 uprising that ended Gaddafi’s rule. Tuesday was the third time the defence is granted more time to study the case.

Dorda served as Libya's UN envoy in the late 1990s and replaced Mussa Kussa as head of external intelligence services in 2009 before he was detained in September by forces loyal to the now ruling National Transitional Council (NTC).

The interim authorities have been keen to show the world they have a strong judiciary and are capable of conducting fair trials for high-profile figures.

They have requested the extradition of former spymaster Abdullah Senussi, who was detained in Mauritania in March, and last month obtained the extradition of ex-premier Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, in what marked a diplomatic coup for Libya.

Libya also hopes to try Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, at home.

Dorda's hearing comes as the country awaits the results of Saturday's historic elections for a General National Congress, which will replace the NTC and lead the country until fresh elections can be held on the basis of a new constitution.