First Published: 2012-11-12

 

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi faces Libyan judges for first time

 

Gathafi's last prime minister becomes highest ranking former regime official to go before Libyan judges, in brief but sullen court appearance.

 

Middle East Online

By Dominique Soguel – TRIPOLI

Will justice be served?

Moamer Gathafi's last prime minister became the highest ranking former regime official to go before Libyan judges, in a brief but sullen court appearance on Monday.

Dressed in a traditional white robe and brown vest, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi sat in stoney silence within a caged section of the Tripoli criminal court, where figures of the toppled Gathafi regime are facing justice.

The judge did not read out the charges but Taha Baara, the spokesman for the prosecutor general, said Mahmudi "is accused of committing prejudicial acts against the security of the state and financial crimes".

Two other defendants being tried along with Mahmudi were not brought to court, triggering protests from the defence team, which also requested more time to study the case.

"It is a big file. I need more time in order to get myself ready for the defence," lawyer Ali Dabba said.

The session lasted about 10 minutes before the trial was adjourned until December 10 at the request of both the defence and the prosecution.

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

He was extradited to Libya to face justice on June 24, despite warnings from rights groups that he could face the death penalty.

In July, Mahmudi protested his innocence to journalists visiting his prison.

"I am not guilty, not guilty, not guilty," he told reporters during a visit organised by the authorities in an apparent bid to quash rumours he had been tortured.

"I am ready to be tried by the Libyan people. I am sure of myself and of my innocence," he said at the time.

Mahmudi had appealed his extradition from Tunisia on the grounds he had applied for refugee status and could face execution if sent back to Libya.

Along with Seif al-Islam, the toppled dictator's most high-profile son, Mahmudi is one of the few remaining keepers of the many state secrets under Gathafi, who was killed on October 20 last year.

A physician by training, Mahmudi was loyal to Gathafi until the end, serving as premier from 2006 up to the final days of his regime.

From March 5, 2006 through the war of 2011, Mahmudi was the secretary of the General People's Committee, the equivalent of the country's prime minister.

He held a series of government posts before that, including health minister from 1992 to 1997, as well as shorter stints as minister of human resources and minister of infrastructure.

Mahmudi oversaw vast fortunes in the oil-rich nation as chairman of the Libya Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world which was created in 2007 to restructure state enterprises.

He also oversaw the Libyan Oil and Gas Council which was created in 2006.

Gathafi's son Seif al-Islam, arrested inside Libya a year ago, is awaiting to hear where he will stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity.

The authorities in Tripoli want him to stand in the dock inside Libya, but the International Criminal Court wants him to face justice in The Hague.

Judges in The Hague heard arguments last month by a lawyer for Libya and representatives of the ICC to decide where Seif, 40, and Gathafi's former spymaster Abdullah Senussi, 63, should be tried.

Seif has been in custody in the western Libyan hill town of Zintan since his arrest last November, while Senussi was extradited from Mauritania on September 5.

 

Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison