The jailed son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said that he had been held in solitary confinement and suffered due process violations during pretrial detention at Tripoli’s al-Hadba prison.
Al-Saadi Gaddafi made the allegations on September 15, 2015, in a private meeting at al-Hadba with Human Rights Watch, its first meeting with him since his extradition from Niger in March 2014 and apparently his first meeting with an international human rights organization.
On August 3, 2015, Human Rights Watch reported on a nine-minute video made available by clearnews, an online news site, in which officials and guards at al-Hadba seem to be interrogating and ill-treating several detainees, including al-Saadi Gaddafi.
Asked about the video and his ill-treatment at al-Hadba, Gaddafi said he had been “terrorized” but that he did not wish to talk about the details. The same news site published several more videos in August seemingly showing abusive interrogations of al-Saadi at al-Hadba prison.
Researchers also met with three other detainees, including the former Military Intelligence Chief Abdullah Sanussi, and two former prime ministers, Abuzeid Dorda and al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, during the visit to al-Hadba on September 15.
All three were sentenced to death by Tripoli’s Court of Assize on July 28 for their alleged roles in trying to suppress the 2011 uprising in Libya. Gaddafi’s trial is under way. Human Rights Watch met each detainee individually for 30 to 45 minutes, in private, without guards present.
“The Supreme Court needs to address the many allegations of grave due process violations by the defendants and their lawyers when it considers the appeals of the verdicts against the former officials,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director. “The assize court needs to ensure that al-Saadi Gaddafi is granted his full rights.”
Khalid al-Sharif, director of al-Hadba, told Human Rights Watch that the former al-Hadba prison director had been suspended because of the torture allegations. One of the three suspects is no longer in Libya, he said, and the other two remained in Libya but were still at large.