By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 7 August 2013:
A court in Tripoli has once again adjourned the trial of Qaddafi’s last prime minister, Al-Baghdadi . . .[restrict]Al-Mahmoudi, and those charged with him – Al-Mabrouk Zamhoul and Amer Tirfas – to 9 October, giving prosecution two months to implement court orders and submit all documents in the next hearing.
Mahmoudi’s trial has been repeatedly postponed, most recently on 13 June, since his controversial extradition from Tunisia in June 2012 At the last hearing, Tirfas’ defence requested more time to study the case.
Today, the defence lawyers raised issue with the un-cooperative attitude of prosecution, its slow speed and presented a document in support of Zamhoul. The court rebuked the Prosecutor General’s representative and ordered to implement the court orders from previous court proceedings and produce the documents before court.
The prosecution told the court that they need two months to submit all the documents and verifications. The judges retired to their chambers to discuss the case and returned 20 minutes later to adjourn the trial till 9 October giving the prosecution the required time.
The three are facing charges of having taken actions leading to the murder of Libyan citizens. They are also charged with embezzlement, in particular transferring €15 million to private accounts in Tunisia to pay for logistic support for the former regime, along with other accusations of financial and administrative irregularities.
The trial started after a slight delay with family members of all three prisoners and media waiting for it to begin. The atmosphere became tense as some family members were visibly angry over the treatment from security officials at the entrance. Some of the family were made to remove belts and shoes, a move that did not appear to go down well with them. The prisoners were brought in blue prison uniforms with heads and beards shaved. The only time they spoke was when their attendance was called by the judge.
All three prisoners kept staring at the floor with occasional looks to the podium where judges were seated and to family members in the hall. The three looked well but distraught throughout the hearing with intense and straight faces. Zamhoul looked the most uncomfortable. He kept murmuring and exchanging looks with his son in the hall.
One of the relatives of Zamhoul, who kept supplicating throughout the hearing, was upset when judge did not take note of the points raised by defence and gave two months to the prosecution. As a sign on protest he remained seated along with few other relatives when the trial was adjourned and everybody else stood up as the judges left the chamber.
Mahmoudi faces separate charges including association with criminal groups and incitement to rape. They are not being examined in the present case.
Zahmoul and Tirfas are said to have been senior officials in an investment company run by Seif Al-Islam. [/restrict]