Gaddafi officials acquitted but stay behind bars

By REUTERS
June 17, 2013 19:27

 
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TRIPOLI - Two former top associates of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were acquitted on Monday of wasting public money, but remained in jail as part of a bigger investigation involving his spy chief and one of his sons.

Ex-foreign minister Abdel-Ati al-Obeidi and Mohammed Zwai, former head of the legislature, were accused of wasting funds by facilitating a $2.7 billion compensation payment to families of those killed in the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing.

It was the first trial verdict on officials close to Gaddafi, who was overthrown and then killed in a 2011 uprising.

Libya's new rulers are keen to try his family members and loyalists to draw a line under his 42-year dictatorship, but human rights activists fret a weak central government and shaky rule of law mean legal proceedings will not meet international standards.

"The court has acquitted the defendants of all charges against them," the judge said, without giving further details.

Obeidi and Zwai stood silently behind bars as the verdict was read, while their family members shouted "God is Greatest".

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