The lawyer for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday accused Libyan officials of defying the International Criminal Court (ICC) by announcing that Saif al-Islam’s trial would begin in August. John Jones, Saif al-Islam’s lawyer, fears that his client will be given the death penalty in Libya, and will have no opportunity for appeal. Jones asked the ICC to reject Libya’s request to suspend the order to transfer Saif al-Islam to the Hague and called Libya’s announcement that the trial will begin in August a “blatant disregard for these obligations.” Saif al-Islam is accused of crimes against the state for transferring information related to Libya’s national security to an ICC delegation, insulting Libya’s new flag and attempting to escape from prison.
Saif al-Islam made his second appearance in court in early May, but the trial was postponed at that time to allow for more preparation. Saif al-Islam first appeared in court in Zintan in January. His appearance came after the ICC demanded that Libyan officials address reports that they planned to try Saif al-Islam and former Gaddafi intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Libya has continued to refuse to hand the two men over to the ICC after announcing plans to try them in Libya. In October Libyan government lawyers urged the ICC to allow them to be tried in Libya and promised that the trial would be fair. In August Saif al-Islam stated that he preferred to be tried by the ICC out of fear that Libya would not try him fairly. Last June four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam, including Melinda Taylor, were detained by Libyan security forces and were in custody for nearly four weeks before being released.