AFP | Jan 21, 2013 | 22:46 Updated: Jan 21, 2013 | 22:46
THE HAGUE — Lawyers defending Muammar Qadhafi’s son Seif Al Islam at the International Criminal Court on Monday accused Libyan authorities of conducting a “Kafka-esque show trial” after he appeared in a court in his homeland for the first time last week.
The latest broadside in the legal tug-of-war between the Hague-based ICC and Tripoli over where Seif, 40, should face justice came after he appeared in the dock in the Libyan town of Zintan on Thursday on charges of “undermining state security”.
The Libyan charges were levelled after four ICC envoys went to Zintan in June and were detained for nearly a month, triggering a diplomatic row.
One of the four, Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, was accused of carrying a pen camera and attempting to give Seif a coded letter from his former right-hand man Mohammed Ismail, who is wanted by Libyan authorities.
After Qadhafi appeared in court, ICC lawyers on Monday submitted an urgent request to the ICC “to issue an immediate decision on the admissibility of the case, and to order the government of Libya to immediately surrender Mr Qadhafi to the custody of the ICC”.
The ICC is mulling a Libyan request to put Qadhafi and former spy chief Abdullah Senussi on trial there, while the ICC itself wants to try Qadhafi on charges of crimes against humanity committed in the conflict that overthrew his father in 2011.
The ICC lawyers said that Qadhafi “is essentially being tried for attempting to communicate with the ICC via his counsel in relation to the fact that his rights had been violated”.
“Prosecuting a defendant for trying to defend himself epitomises the very definition of a Kafka-esque show trial.”
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