VOORBURG, Netherlands, July 6, 2012 (AFP) -
VOORBURG, Netherlands, July 6, 2012 (AFP) –
Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam has no chance of a fair trial in Libya, his international lawyer said Friday following her release from almost four weeks’ detention there.
“Irrespective of any issues concerning my own personal conduct, the rights of my client, Mr Seif al-Islam — were irrevocably prejudiced during my visit to Zintan,” said Melinda Taylor, who was freed this week after being held in Libya while visiting Seif on behalf of the International Criminal Court.
“It is the position of the defence that these recent events have completely underscored that it will be impossible for Mr Kadhafi to be tried in an independent and impartial manner in Libyan courts,” she said at a press conference in The Hague.
Taylor and her four colleagues were released on Monday after being held in the southern Libyan town of Zintan since June 7 after travelling there to help prepare Seif al-Islam’s defence.
An Australian citizen, Taylor was accused of carrying a pen camera and attempting to give Seif al-Islam, 40, a coded letter from his former right-hand man, Mohammed Ismail, who is wanted by the Libyan authorities.
The other three detained ICC staffers were Taylor’s interpreter from Lebanon, Helen Assaf, and two colleagues, Russian Alexander Khodakov and Esteban Peralta Losilla from Spain.
The four were eventually allowed to leave under a deal between The Hague-based court and the Libyan government, which are locked in a dispute over where Seif should be tried.
“Amongst other things, the Libyan authorities deliberately misled the defence concerning whether the visit with Mr Kadhafi would be monitored,” Taylor said in a prepared statement, declining to answer questions.
They also “seized documents which were covered by legal professional privilege and ICC protective orders”.
Defence lawyers will give an account of the events in Libya to ICC judges in writing by next Wednesday, she said.
But Taylor stressed: “I would like to unequivocally state that I believe my actions were consistent with my legal obligations under the ICC’s (founding) Statute and Rules and Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel.”
A beaming Taylor said it was “wonderful” to be back in The Hague. She said during her detention, the four ICC members were allowed to have one five-minute telephone conversation with their families.
“As you can imagine, speaking to my two-year-old daughter under such circumstances was both an emotional lifeline and heartbreaking,” she said.
Seif has been in custody in Zintan since his arrest on November 19 in the wake of the uprising that toppled his father after more than 40 years in power.
The ICC wants both Seif and his late father’s spymaster, Abdullah Senussi, for crimes against humanity committed while trying to put down last year’s bloody revolt.
Tripoli and the ICC have been at loggerheads since Seif al-Islam’s capture over where he should be tried, with Libya’s new leaders saying they want him in the dock before a local court.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Seif and Senussi in June 2011, and wants to see them tried in The Hague.
Libyan officials had asked in May for the court to quash a surrender request and throw out the case.
A third warrant for the late Libyan strongman was scrapped after Kadhafi was killed by rebel forces on October 20 last year.