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Libya judge orders Gadhafi son tried by video link

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan judge in the trial of former regime officials decided Monday that Moammar Gadhafi's son, held by a militia in the country's west, can be tried in the proceedings via a video link.

Since the end of Libya's 2011 civil war, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi has been held by a militia in Zintan that has refused to hand him over for a separate trial in the capital, Tripoli, and the weak central government has been unable to force the issue.

Seif al-Islam faces charges along with 39 other Gadhafi regime figures — including notorious spymaster Abdullah al-Senoussi — for alleged crimes during the civil war. Both men are also wanted by the International Criminal Court for the murder and persecution of protesters in the uprising.

The judge in the courtroom set up in a Tripoli prison facility ordered a satellite link with Seif al-Islam in the Zintan prison and adjourned the proceedings until April 27. Gadhafi's last prime minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi complained that he was allowed to sit with his lawyers only in court and asked for more meetings with them and that he asked the judge to allow his non-Libyan lawyers to attend the hearings. There was no immediate response from the judge.

Al-Senoussi asked the judge for more family visits, and Prosecutor Al-Seddik al-Sur told the court that al-Senoussi was granted three visits. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, in a statement released on Monday, expressed concerns about the trial including the defendants' limited access to lawyers and key documents on the evidence against them.

"This case has been riddled with procedural flaws right from the beginning, which have made it grossly unfair to the defendants," said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

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