Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam sentenced to death by Libyan court

By Amy R. Connolly  |  July 28, 2015 at 7:05 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, July 28 (UPI) -- Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi's most prominent son was sentenced to death Tuesday over war crimes during the country's 2011 revolution that ended his father's rule.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was ordered to face a firing squad for his role in suppressing protests during the uprising. Also sentenced to death were Gaddafi's former spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, and his former prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.

Gaddafi, who has been held by a militia group since his capture in 2011, was not present in the court and gave testimony via video link. He has the right to appeal.

Gaddafi is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prosecutors said he was part of his father's "inner circle" and he "conceived and orchestrated a plan to deter and quell, by all means, the civilian demonstrations against Gaddafi's regime."

Gaddafi was the heir to his father, who ruled over Libya from 1969 to 2011. The elder Gaddafi assumed leadership after overthrowing King Idris I. Gaddafi was long opposed to Western influences, encouraging the Arab world to fight back against it.

Famously dubbed the "mad dog of the Middle East" by President Ronald Reagan, Gaddafi was known to be eccentric and violent. In 1984, the United Kingdom ended diplomatic relations with Libya after a police officer was killed outside the Libyan embassy in London. He further distanced his country from the Western world after the 1998 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that killed 270 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He later paid $2.7 billion to the families of victims.

With the Arab Spring of 2011, the elder Gaddafi found himself the target of protests, accused of committing human-rights violations. He was killed by the country's National Transitional Council.

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