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Wed Nov 26 13:02:00 SAST 2014

Gaddafi's ex-PM goes on trial in Libya over mass rape, graft

Reuters | 12 November, 2012 15:48
Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, who was the last prime minister of Libya's Gaddafi government, sits behind bars during the first hearing of his trial at a prison facility in Tripoli November 12, 2012.
Image by: ISMAIL ZITOUNY / REUTERS

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's former prime minister went on trial on Monday over allegations including corruption and of ordering mass rape during the war last year.

Al Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi could face life in jail or execution if convicted. He served as the ousted Libyan leader's prime minister from 2006 until he fled to neighbouring Tunisia around the time rebel fighters took Tripoli in August last year.

Tunisia extradited him in June, making him the first senior former Gaddafi official to be returned for trial under Libya's transitional leadership.

Under heavy security, Mahmoudi appeared in the dock looking healthy and dressed in traditional Libyan clothing.

The judge postponed the hearing to Dec. 10 to give the prosecution and defence more time to review documents.

Former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was the second former Gaddafi official to be extradited to Libya, in September, after being captured in Mauritania on a false passport.

Tripoli considers it a matter of national pride and a mark of Libya's transformation for former Gaddafi loyalists to be tried in the country. But human rights groups question whether the justice system can meet international legal standards.

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