Friday, 20 September 2013

Gaddafi-era Lockerbie officials go on trial in Tripoli

[The trial of thirty-seven Gaddafi-era officials on charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and human rights crimes during the revolution, opened yesterday in Tripoli. Most media reports have mentioned only one of the accused, Abdullah al-Senussi, Gaddafi’s intelligence chief and brother-in-law. However, the report in the Libya Herald refers to a number of other defendants:]

The Tripoli hearing was largely concerned with the formalities of establishing charges and identities. Along with Senussi who looked thin and gaunt, appearing to confirm his doctor’s claim that he has prostate cancer, the 36 accused appearing today included Qaddafi’s External Security Agency head Abu Zaid Omar Dorda, former Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, the General People’s Conference head Mohamed al-Zway, former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, and Tripoli Internal Security Agency head Mansour Dhou.

Unlike Senussi, Dorda, Obeidi and Zway have already made court appearances in Tripoli. Dorda’s case was adjourned on several occasions while Obeidi and Zway, who were arrested in July 2011, were found not guilty in June on charges of maladministration while in office and wasting public funds. (...)

At the end of two hours today, during which the defendants confirmed their names and the charges against them were read out, the pre-trial hearing was adjourned until 3 October. By then, the judge and his deputy ordered, defence lawyers must have reviewed their clients’ files and prepared their defences.

The proceedings were watched by a handful of foreign press reporters alongside local print and media journalists. Outside the court, there was a small protest by families of Busleem prison massacre victims, many with placards demanding that Senussi and others be hanged.  Security was high both inside and outside the courtroom, with local shops being asked to close up.

[Messrs Dorda, Obeidi and Zway were all heavily involved in the resolution of the Lockerbie impasse.  I had many meetings with all of them and always found them open, trustworthy and honest in their dealings with me.]


  1. "...trial of thirty-seven Gaddafi-era officials on charges of murder,
    conspiracy to murder and human rights crimes..."

    One of the very encouraging facts about this world is, that those who commits most war crimes always lose the war.
    This inferring is easy to make, as in the trials held afterwards, typically 99% of the accused (and usually convicted) happens to be on the losing side.

  2. Dear SM,

    I read your first sentence and was on the verge of tossing my laptop out of the window when your second sentence revealed your sense of irony and thus I managed to restrain myself.

    Yes, of course it's history written by the victors, as it always has been. We so conveniently obliterate from our consciousnesses the manner in which the murderers of so many thousands of plain, ordinary, Chinese folk evaded conviction for their felonious acts when conducting their 'medical experiments', so called. And who excused these murderers? The victors, of course, in return for the statistical results of those fatal 'scientific experiments'. Exactly the same sort of thing occurred with the Nazis too.

    Like yourself, I despair of humanity. As a species, I find myself quite disgusted by the fact that I can identify so few redeeming features.

    I sincerely hope that developments over in this part of the world may be provide pause for thought to those elsewhere who may gleefully contemplating death sentences on individuals from the previous Libyan Government associated with Lockerbie/Zeist.


  3. Dear Robert,

    "...was on the verge of tossing my laptop out of the window..."

    Irony on the internet is a dangerous thing - as there is no point of view so obviously tongue-in-cheek absurd that somebody wouldn't actually have it for real.

    - - -

    The world turned out to be more nasty than we realized, didn't it, after that damned Internet opened the can on a scale, that had never been seen before. Revealing the huge contrast between what we thought we could rely on, and trust (at least I did, by and large), and the info we must now face.

    Despair is the right word, especially with the very limited activity from people who now _could_ know, but don't go that way.

    And matters are not exactly improving, are they?

    Before year 2000 Denmark hadn't participated in an attacking war for 300 years. Then Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali - and, unlike even UK, we were all for a quickie with Syria - UN approval not needed.

    Wars are invariably the result of the work of liars.

    Get them out of the system - your own, and the judicial.

    (I didn't say "and your government" - all success comes from a realistic approach.)

    Fate put the Lockerbie case in your hands. Keep going, JfM.
    As recent years have shown, the importance can hardly be overstated, with impact far beyond the borders of Scotland.

    Best hopes for Tuesday.


    Soren 'Frank'

  4. Dear 'Frank',

    Thank you for your kind words and support. JFM always appreciates what you, and many others on this blog, say most deeply and very sincerely.

    "Fate put the Lockerbie case in your hands. Keep going, JfM." And, ain't that a fact! Whilst I am sorely tempted to relate the truly bizarre and quite hilarious tale of how I ended up actively participating in the Lockerbie/Zeist case right now, I am not sure that the muse is entirely with me at the moment. Suffice to say that it involved a can of WD40 and a massively, politically incorrect wisecrack I made to a couple of Libyan scientists. Fortunately, they knew that I'd spent some years working in تهران‎ (AKA: Tehran) and they also had a superbly well-tuned sense of humour. An absolute prerequisite in this game. Most people, with great regret I should say, know how to pronounce the words 'adult', 'mature', 'grown-up', 'sensible' and the like, however, I've always had a bit of a problem in that area. Language such as: 'rabid, Anarcho-syndicalist Sybarite' on the other hand, have never posed such complications. Strange. Now look where it's got me: consorting with reprobates whose names are decorated with 'Professor' before and 'QC' afterwards, not to mention a retired Detective Superintendent of police into the bargain. Lord! Give me a nuclear armed V-Class submarine any day: far safer an environment. A tad more boring though, it must be said.

    Not sure if I totally agree with your blaming the internet for our inability to identify irony etc, after all, surely I was not the only person to have spotted yours. Actually, JFM has always found it a hugely handy tool. As a matter of fact, JFM could never have done what it has done so rapidly without it. I imagine that most folk out here reckon that we don't seem to have got too far since foundation in 2008 (certainly there are members of the 4th Estate who take that view), but, that's not our fault. The blame for the snail's pace at which this debate/war, call it what you will, lies wholly at the doors of COPFS. Don't blame the messenger. The problem lies at the feet of the dorks behind.

    Furthermore, don't get me started on national acts of aggression, please, as I have just finished reading a massive biography of Otto Bismarck. As a completely gratuitous aside, by the way, I can't help but think that the world would be a much better place if it were dominated by the likes of Otto and Genghis Khan. What do you say? I detect you are a Dane, so may not entirely concur with this view!

    Quite apart from Tuesday, I am very much looking forward to the publication of our most esteemed Secretary-depute's book 'Adequately Explained by Stupidity'. I refer, of course, to Dr Kerr. Cleverly, she has timed publication to perfection to coincide with the quarter century anniversary of the Lockerbie tragedy. I imagine she will be available for a photo opportunity with our greatest ally, Mr Mulholland, outside the doors of the Crown Office as she hands over a pristine copy on the 21st of December. An offer he surely couldn't refuse. Could he? They won't be needing metal detectors when they read it, a Geiger Counter will do just dandy.

    Pip, pip.