Libyan court charges Gaddafi-era figures

Relatives hold portraits of prisoners who died during the 1996 Abu Salim Prison massacre, as they protest outside the appeals court in Tripoli, 24 October, 2013. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives of victims of a 1996 prison massacre protested outside the court in Tripoli

A Libyan court has charged more than 20 officials linked to Muammar Gaddafi, including one of the former leader's sons, Saif al-Islam.

Also among those charged is Gaddafi-era intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

All face charges relating to their alleged roles in suppressing protest and killing demonstrators during the uprising that toppled Gaddafi in 2011.

The case will now be transferred to a criminal court in Tripoli, though no date has yet been set.

The BBC's Rana Jawad reports from the Libyan capital that only a small number of the accused were present at Thursday's closed hearing.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted both Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Mr Senussi for alleged war crimes.

The ICC ruled earlier this month that Libya was able and willing to prosecute Mr Senussi, but is still demanding that Mr Gaddafi be transferred to The Hague for trial.

Mr Gaddafi is being held in the Libyan city of Zintan by the brigade that captured him, and our correspondent says his detention is seen as being outside the control of the authorities in Tripoli.

Mr Senussi has been implicated in an infamous Libyan massacre in 1996, in which more than 1,000 inmates were killed at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.

Relatives of the massacre called for justice outside the court on Thursday.

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