28 Apr 2014

Gaddafi's son in video-link before court

8:14 am on 28 April 2014

A court in Tripoli has begun the trial of the son of Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi and 22 former officials on charges ranging from war crimes to corruption.

Saif al-Islam appeared via video-link from the western town of Zintan where he has been since his capture by former rebels who refuse to hand him over to Tripoli. They do not trust the government to ensure he won't escape.

The judge took about 20 minutes to read the charges.

Libya is struggling to establish basic institutions and rule of law since the end of Colonel Gaddafi's rule after four decades in 2011.

When the judge asked Saif whether he had a lawyer to defend him he said twice: "It's with God."

The court later decided to appoint a lawyer for him.

Among the accused were prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, former foreign minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi and ex-intelligence chief Buzeid Dorda.

The court adjourned the session until 11 May after rejecting petitions from lawyers to release several defendants.