TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s former prime minister went on trial on Monday over allegations including corruption and of ordering mass rape during the war last year.
Al Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi could face life in jail or execution if convicted. He served as the ousted Libyan leader’s prime minister from 2006 until he fled to neighboring Tunisia around the time rebel fighters took Tripoli in August last year.
Tunisia extradited him in June, making him the first senior former Gaddafi official to be returned for trial under Libya’s transitional leadership.
Under heavy security, Mahmoudi appeared in the dock looking healthy and dressed in traditional Libyan clothing.
The judge postponed the hearing to December 10 to give the prosecution and defense more time to review documents.
Former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was the second former Gaddafi official to be extradited to Libya, in September, after being captured in Mauritania on a false passport.
Tripoli considers it a matter of national pride and a mark of Libya’s transformation for former Gaddafi loyalists to be tried in the country. But human rights groups question whether the justice system can meet international legal standards.