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Gadhafi's son attends trial in Libya by video link

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 27, 2014 at 3:22 p.m.

— The son of the late former dictator Moammar Gadhafi and others appeared Sunday by video conferencing for a trial in the capital, Tripoli, Libya's official news agency said.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi appeared at the second session of his trial via a video screen from the city of Zintan, where he has been held by a militia since November 2011. When the judge asked him if he had a lawyer, al-Islam responded that he did not, saying, "I have God." Meanwhile, former spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi asked to be defended by a lawyer from outside Libya.

Eight other defendants also appeared by video link from the city of Misrata. It is unclear why the government has been unable to transfer the detainees not present to the capital to attend the trial. The last prime minister under Gadhafi, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, was also tried Sunday.

The 37 defendants face a variety of charges mainly relating to the killing of protesters during the 2011 civil war that led to Gadhafi's ouster. Charges include recruiting mercenaries, who were given Libyan nationality, planning and carrying out attacks on civilian targets from the air, forming armed groups, and shooting into crowds of demonstrators, among others. Al-Senoussi is accused of using poisonous gas in the city of Brega, bombing a gas station, and a number of defendants are charged with cutting off the water supply to several Western cities.

Journalists were prevented from entering the courtroom but watched the proceedings on a screen in a room next door. Women who attended were required to wear head scarves.

The session was adjourned to May 11.

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